Story 1: Will A Greece Default On Debt Trigger A World Recession? — Bubbles Bursting? — Greek Odious Debt Default On The Brink — Jump! — Greece Defaults! — Videos
Greece misses 1.5 billion euro IMF payment 01:12
Greece officially defaults 02:28
Greece defaults on $1.7 billion payment
Laura Branigan – Self Control
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The History of Odious Debt
Not Much Difference Between U.S. and Greece
How Will Greece’s Default to the IMF Impact Europe?
Analysis: Who is to blame for Greece’s debt crisis?
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SR381 – Why Greece Will Default
Keiser Report: Greece! Start Fresh (E777)
Keiser Report: IMF failed Greece long before bailout (E776)
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Greece Makes The First Move, Debt Is Illegal And Odious – Episode 694
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Ep. 89: Greece is a sideshow. U.S. is the Main Event.
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DONNA SUMMER – I feel love (1977) HD and HQ
Laura Branigan – Gloria 
Forever Young Laura Branigan
Greece’s bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment
By ELENA BECATOROS and DEREK GATOPOULOS
y to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.
After Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout, eurozone finance ministers decided in a teleconference late Tuesday that there was no way they could reach a deal before the deadline.
“It would be crazy to extend the program,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbleom, who heads the eurozone finance ministers’ body known as the eurogroup. “So that cannot happen and will not happen.”
(AP) An elderly man passes a graffiti outside an old bank in Athens, Tuesday, June 30,… Full Image
“The program expires tonight,” Dijsselbleom said.The brinkmanship that has characterized Greece’s bailout negotiations with its European creditors and the IMF rose several notches over the weekend, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he would put a deal proposal by creditors to a referendum on Sunday and urged a “No” vote.
The move increased fears the country could soon fall out of the euro currency bloc and Greeks rushed to pull money out of ATMs, leading the government to shutter its banks and impose restrictions on banking transactions on Monday for at least a week.
But in a surprise move Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.
The government decided on the referendum, he said on state television, “and it can make a decision on something else.”
(AP) A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during a rally organized by supporters of the YES… Full Image
It was unclear, however, how that would be possible legally as Parliament has already voted for it to go ahead.Greece’s international bailout expires at midnight central European time, after which the country loses access to billions of euros in funds. At the same time, Greece has said it will not be able to make a payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF.
With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.
The agency said the breakdown of negotiations “has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honor its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector.”
Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt “probable.”
(AP) People stand in a queue to use an ATM outside a closed bank, next to a sign on the… Full Image
Hopes for an 11th-hour deal were raised when the Greek side announced it had submitted a new proposal Tuesday afternoon, and the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers held a teleconference to discuss it.But those hopes were quickly dashed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she ruled out further negotiations with Greece before Sunday’s popular vote on whether to accept creditors’ demands for budget reforms.
“Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new,” the dpa news agency quoted Merkel as saying.
Greece’s latest offer involves a proposal to tap Europe’s bailout fund — the so-called European Stability Mechanism, a pot of money set up after Greece’s rescue programs to help countries in need.
(AP) The word “NO”, referring to the upcoming referendum, is written in red paint outside… Full Image
Tsipras’ office said the proposal was “for the full coverage of (Greece’s) financing needs with the simultaneous restructuring of the debt.”Dijsselbloem said the finance ministers would “study that request as we should” and that they would hold another conference call Wednesday, as they had also received a second letter from Athens that they had not had time to read.
Dragasakis said the new letter “narrows the differences further.”
“We are making an additional effort. There are six points where this effort can be made. I don’t want to get into specifics. But it includes pensions and labor issues,” he said.
European officials and Greek opposition parties have been adamant that a “No” vote on Sunday will mean Greece will leave the euro and possibly even the EU.
(AP) Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote… Full Image
The government says this is scaremongering, and that a rejection of creditor demands will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.In Athens, more than 10,000 “Yes” vote supporters gathered outside parliament despite a thunderstorm, chanting “Europe! Europe!”
Most huddled under umbrellas, including Athens resident Sofia Matthaiou.
“I don’t know if we’ll get a deal. But we have to press them to see reason,” she said, referring to the government. “The creditors need to water down their positions, too.”
The protest came a day after thousands of government supporters advocating a “No” vote held a similar demonstration.
(AP) Demonstrators gather under the rain during a rally organized by supporters of the… Full Image
On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a new offer to Greece. Under that proposal, Tsipras would need to accept the creditors’ proposal that was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the offer would also involve unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load of over 300 billion euros, or around 180 percent of GDP. The Greek side has long called for debt relief, saying its mountainous debt is unsustainable.
A Greek government official said Tsipras had spoken earlier in the day with Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.
Meanwhile, missing the IMF payment will cut Greece off from new loans from the organization.
And with its bailout program expiring, Greece will lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support it has not yet tapped, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks about the program were still ongoing.
On the streets of Athens, long lines formed again at ATM machines as Greeks struggled with the new restrictions on banking transactions. Under credit controls imposed Monday, Greeks are now limited to ATM withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) a day and cannot send money abroad or make international payments without special permission.
The elderly have been hit particularly hard, with tens of thousands of pensions unpaid as of Tuesday afternoon. Many also found themselves completely cut off from any cash as they do not have bank cards.
The finance ministry said it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days beginning Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit would be set at 120 euros for the whole week.
With negotiations have broken off in dramatic fashion last week, a cacophony of voices on Syriza’s Left have vowed to prioritise domestic obligations unless creditors finally unlock the remainder of its €240bn bail-out programme. Greece only avoided going bust earlier this month after the government has asked for a Zambia-style debt bundling which will now be due on June 30.
The rhetoric is a far cry from February, when Greece’s finance minister pledged his government would “squeeze blood out of a stone” to meet its obligations to the Fund.
Although no nation has ever officially defaulted on its obligations in the post-Bretton Woods era, Greece would join an ignominious list of war-torn nations and international pariahs who have failed to pay back the Fund on time.
What happens after a default?
In choosing to bundle up four separate June repayments, Greece avoided triggering an immediate default.
But in the event of a delayed repayment, according to IMF protocol, Greece could be afforded a 30-day grace period, during which it would be urged to pay back the money as soon as possible, and before Ms Lagarde notifies her executive board of the late payment.
However, with talks have broken down in acrimonious fashion between the country and its creditors, Ms Lagarde has said she will renege on this and notify her board “immediately”.
Having spooked creditors and the markets of the possibility of a fatal breach of the sanctity of monetary union, Greece may well stump up the cash if an agreement to release the country more emergency aid is reached (that’s looking increasingly unlikely however).
But should no money be forthcoming however, the arrears process may well extend indefinitely.
Greece’s other creditor burden would also start piling up, with the government due to pay another €6.6bn to the European Central Bank in July and August.
Stopping the cash
Although the exact process is uncertain, falling into a protracted arrears procedure could have major consequences for continued financial assistance from Greece’s other creditors – the European Central Bank and European Commission.
“If Greece defaults to the IMF, then they are considered to be in default to the rest of the eurozone,” says Raoul Ruparel, head of economic research at Open Europe.
“Such a scenario would risk the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) cancelling all or part of its facility or even declaring the principal amount of the loan to be due immediately,” say analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Should the EFSF take such a decisive move, it could activate a range of cross default clauses on Greek government bonds held by private investors and the ECB. These clauses state a default to one creditor institution applies to all.
The political and market damage that may ensue would be substantial. Popular sentiment in creditor nations would turn against the errant Greeks, while the position of the ECB in particular could quickly come under the spotlight.
The central bank has kept Greek banks on a tight leash, maintaining that it would only restore normal lending operations to the country once “conditions for a successful completion of the programme are in place”.
A wave of defaults may force the ECB into finally pulling the plug on the emergency assistance it has been providing in ever larger doses since February.
What would happen if Greece left the euro? In 60 seconds
Scrambling for funds
Whatever the outcome, Greece on many measures, is all but bankrupt.
In addition to the half a billion euros plus it owes the Fund this month, the Leftist government will still be paying back the IMF until 2030. In total, its repayment schedule stretches out over the next 42 years to 2057.
Greece makes new aid proposal, seeks debt restructuring
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has submitted to creditors a new two-year aid proposal calling for parallel debt restructuring, the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, in what seemed like a last-ditch effort by Athens to resolve an impasse with lenders.
The statement came hours before Athens was set to default on a loan to the International Monetary Fund. It was unclear how creditors would respond.
“The Greek government proposed today a two-year deal with the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring,” the government said in a statement.
“Greece remains at the negotiating table,” the statement said, adding that Athens would always seek a “viable solution to stay in the euro.”
If Greece defaults on its debt, it will be the biggest default by a country in history.
Greece is expected to miss a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) debt payment on Tuesday. That won’t be enough to put it in the record books yet, but it could eventually make Greece default on its entire debt load: €323 billion ($360 billion).
This isn’t the first time Greece has been on the brink. Greece already holds the record for the biggest default ever by a country from 2012 when it went into technical default and had to restructure about $138 billion of its debt. Back then, Greece was quickly bailed out by its European peers. That’s unlikely to happen now.
The Greek government pulled its negotiators from talks with European officials Friday after little progress was made on a debt payment plan and economic reforms. Greece has called for a referendum vote on July 5 on the latest proposal from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece already holds the record: Greece’s 2012 technical default shattered the previous record set by Argentina in 2001, when the South American nation defaulted on $95 billion in debt. While there are parallels between the two countries, experts say this potential Greek default could be much worse.
“Things are incredibly dire,” says Anna Gelpern, a Georgetown University professor. “For political reasons and market-confidence reasons, they need to deal with the debt…It’s not clear to me how they deal with it without defaulting on anyone.”
Greece won’t officially be in default right away. The International Monetary Fund generally gives countries a month after missing a debt payment before it declares a country in defaulted. However, the markets will most likely judge Greece to be in default by July 1.
Greece’s debt is spread out across the board. Greece owes money to the International Monetary Fund, Germany, France, Greek banks and several others.
But consider this: Whatever happens to Greece, it’s likely to be a long process. Argentina is still in default. But a key difference is that Greece has four times the debt load of Argentina — the next worst default — but Greece’s economy is only half the size of Argentina’s.
While Greece would be the biggest sovereign default, Lehman Brothers had over $600 billion in assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. A Greek default would be smaller and unlikely to rattle the global financial system like Lehman, but it would have a long-lasting impact on the Greek people.
Here are some of the worst sovereign defaults since 2000.
1. Greece — $138 billion, March 2012. Despite going into a technical default, the Greek government is propped up by bailout funds from its European peers. Those bailout funds eventually lead to the current dilemma.
2. Argentina — $95 billion, November 2001. Argentina’s currency was “pegged” or equal to one U.S. dollar for years — a currency exchange that eventually proved to be completely inaccurate. Like Greece is doing this week, Argentina also clamped down on Argentines trying to take money out of the banks. It didn’t help. The country’s economy was nearly three times smaller just one year later, according to IMF data. In July 2014, Argentina went into a technical default after it missed a debt payment to its hold out creditors.
3. Jamaica — $7.9 billion, February 2010. Massive government overspending for years and rapid inflation pushed Jamaica into default five years ago. At the time, over 40% of the government’s budget went to paying debts. Its economy, which depends on tourism, suffered when the U.S. recession began in late 2008.
4. Ecuador — $3.2 billion, December 2008. Ecuador pulled a fast one on its creditors. With a debt payment looming, the Ecuardor’s government, led by President Rafael Correa, just said no to its creditors. He claimed the debt, some which was owned by American hedge funds, was “immoral.” Rich in resources, Ecuardor could have made debt payments, but intentionally chose not to.
Despite Lagarde’s initial reluctance, IMF on the hook for Greece
By By Anna Yukhananov | Reuters – 21 hours ago
By Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As French Finance Minister in 2010, Christine Lagarde opposed the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in Greece.
Now as the country stands on the edge of defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) payment to the Fund, Lagarde’s tenure at the head of the IMF since 2011 will be shaped by Greece, which holds a referendum on Sunday that could pave the way to its exit from the euro.
By its own admission the Washington-based institution broke many of its rules in lending to Greece. It ended up endorsing austerity measures proposed by the European Commission and European Central Bank, its partners in the troika of Greece’s lenders, instead of leading talks as it had done with other countries such as Russia and in the Asian financial crisis.
“I think the IMF has missed the opportunity (on Greece), because it has not fully leveraged the lessons it learned from the previous crises it was involved in, due to this asymmetric relationship within the troika,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board member.
That the IMF lent to Greece at the behest of Europe, which has nominated every IMF Managing Director since the inception of the Fund in 1946, may expose the institution to greater scrutiny, especially as it has $24 billion in loans outstanding to Greece in its largest-ever program.
“When it was clear that the Greek program was underperforming, they did not push back sufficiently against the euro zone, which had at the time a misguided policy emphasis on only austerity,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington.
The involvement of the Fund in Greece and its continued support for decisions driven by eurozone governments caused a deep split in the institution.
Some IMF economists had misgivings about lending to Greece in 2010 within the constraints of the so-called “troika” of lenders, where the Fund would be the junior partner to the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
IMF board members also protested the “exceptional” size of the program, as Athens did not meet the Fund’s criteria for debt sustainability, meaning it would have trouble repaying.
Yet swayed by the fear that contagion in Athens could spread to French and German banks, the IMF agreed to participate in a joint 110-billion-euro bailout of Greece with the Europeans.
“The Europeans have a third of the voting rights (at the IMF), and they have appointed the managing director since the beginning, so essentially it is the governance that has driven the Greek program,” said Lombardi who is now with the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation.
Later, the Fund admitted that its projections for the Greek economy had been overly optimistic. Instead of growing after a year of austerity, Greece’s economy plunged into one of the worst recessions to ever hit a country in peacetime, with output falling 22 percent from 2008 to 2012.
While the euro zone’s insistence on drawing a direct link between euro membership and Greece’s debt sustainability and the negotiating tactics of the Greek government have exposed both to questions of credibility, the Fund stands charged as well.
“The IMF’s reputation, too, has been shaken from widespread criticism of the Greek program, including its own admission of its failures,” said Lombard Street Research economist Konstantinos Venetis.
TEMPTATION TO GO BIG
If Greece does default on all $24 billion it owes to the Fund, that will dwarf previous delinquencies from countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Somalia.
While the IMF was worried about contagion when it made the loans, it also had institutional incentives for wanting to bail out troubled countries, said Andrea Montanino, a former IMF board member who left the Fund in 2014 after participating in reviews of Greece’s second bailout in 2012.
“The IMF is in a preferred creditor status; the more you lend, the more you earn,” said Montanino, now with the Atlantic Council.
The IMF’s heavy involvement in large bailouts for euro zone countries, which included Ireland and Portugal, have enabled it to build up its reserve buffers in recent years. It is now aiming to store away some $28 billion by 2018.
From interest and charges on the Greek program alone, the IMF has earned some $3.9 billion since 2010, according to figures on the IMF’s website.
“I think the Greek lesson is in the future, the IMF will be much more careful,” said Montanino.
Greece is widely expected to miss a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday—hours before its bailout officially ends at midnight and the country is left with few, if any, financial lifelines.
Greek officials have already warned the country is unable to pay the 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) due to the IMF by 6 p.m. ET, after reforms-for-aid talks with creditors broke down at the weekend.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup, subsequently tweeted on Tuesday that there would be a teleconference to discuss an “official request” from the Greek government “received this afternoon” at 1 p.m. ET.
The Greek government on Tuesday proposed a new, two-year bailout deal with the European Stability Mechanism. This would be to “fully cover its financing needs and the simultaneous restructuring of debt,” according to a translated press release from the office of the Greek Prime Minister.
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
A protester waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament building during a rally in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2015.
This comes at a time when Greece’s financial future is in jeopardy. The country will potentially have no access to external sources of cash, once its funding from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) expires at midnight.
Meanwhile, Greece’s banking system is being kept afloat by emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the European Central Bank, which is up for review on Wednesday.
Against a backdrop of uncertainty, Tsipras has called a referendum on July 5 of the Greek people on whether to accept the bailout proposals—and accompanying austerity measures—proposed by creditors.
Tsipras has urged the public to vote “no” to more austerity.
“The Greek government will claim a sustainable agreement within the euro. This is the message of NO to a bad deal at the referendum on Sunday,” the translated statement from the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.
‘Running out of notches’
Meanwhile, credit ratings agencies are increasingly nervous about the country’s solvency.
Fitch Ratings downgraded Greek banks on Monday to “Restricted Default,” after Athens imposed capital controls to prevent an exodus of deposits from Greece.
In addition, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) lowered Greece’s credit rating to CCC- from CCC, saying the probability of the country exiting the euro zone was now 50 percent.
Moritz Kraemer, chief rating officer of sovereign ratings at S&P, told CNBC on Tuesday that the group was “actually running out of notches” for Greece.
“We have the rating at CCC- and that’s pretty much the lowest rung that we have on our scale,” he told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box.”
If Greece misses its payment on Tuesday, then the IMF will consider it in “arrears” – a technical term used by the IMF, which is similar to default.
If a country is in arrears to the IMF, it means it won’t get any future aid until the bill is repaid.
Although the IMF payment is dominating headlines, S&P’s Kraemer said that Greece’s bailout program ending at midnight was just as significant.
“Basically after that we’re back to square one,” he said. “So even if there was to be a change of heart in Athens and they did decide to take the creditors’ offer, that’s legally no longer possible as the program would have elapsed.”
Greece’s debt crisis: It all started in 2001…
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.
When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.
There are many examples of similar debt repudiation.
Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian environmental and public policy advocacy organisation and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World’s Environmental Legacy, stated: “by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served.” In a Cato Institute policy analysis, Adams suggested that debts incurred by Iraq during Saddam Hussein‘s reign were odious because the money was spent on weapons, instruments of repression, and palaces.
A 2002 article by economists Seema Jayachandran and Michael Kremer renewed interest in this topic. They propose that the idea can be used to create a new type of economic sanction to block further borrowing by dictators. Jayachandran proposed new recommendations in November 2010 at the 10th anniversary of the Jubilee movement at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
In December 2008, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa attempted to default on Ecuador’s national debt, calling it illegitimate odious debt, because it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He succeeded in reducing the price of the debt letters before continuing paying the debt.
Story 1: Political Correctness Social Hysteria Over Confederate Flag Not Black On Black Homicides, Black Genocide In Abortion Mills, Drugs Induced Mental Illness Leading To Suicides and Mass Shootings — Get Serious People — Symbols Over Substance — The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down — Videos
The U.S. population’s distribution by race and ethnicity in 2010 was as follows; due to rounding, figures may not add up to the totals shown.
Virgil Kane is the name
And I served on the Danville train
‘Till Stoneman’s cavalry came
And tore up the tracks again In the winter of ’65
We were hungry, just barely alive
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell
It’s a time I remember, oh so well
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la
“Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!
“Now, I don’t mind chopping wood
And I don’t care if the money’s no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”Like my father before me
I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel standHe was just 18, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Kane back up
When he’s in defeatThe night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
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Confederate flag controversy amid S.C. grieving
Both the flags of the United States and state of South Carolina flew at half-mast to honor the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. Yet the Confederate flag was not lowered. Elaine Quijano reports on the controversy.
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The Complicated Political History Of The Confederate Flag
The Confederate flag flies near the South Carolina Statehouse, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. Tensions over the Confederate flag flying in the shadow of South Carolina’s Capitol rose this week in the wake of the killings of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press
Last week’s tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine black parishioners gathered for a Bible study has renewed the debate over one of the most controversial Southern symbols — the Confederate flag.
On Monday, a cascade of both Republicans and Democrats endorsed removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse in Columbia. South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley held a press conference Monday afternoon, flanked by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, to call for the flag to be removed. She was joined by the state’s Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham — who is running for president — and Tim Scott — the chamber’s only African-American Republican.
Demonstrators carry Confederate flags as they leave the entrance of the South Carolina Statehouse after the removal of the flag in Columbia, S.C., on July 1, 2000.
Eric Draper/Associated Press.
In December 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union just months after Abraham Lincoln, from the anti-slavery Republican Party, was elected president. In April 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C.
Ten other states would eventually follow South Carolina in secession, forming the Confederate States of America. However, of the three flags the Confederacy would go on to adopt, none are the Confederate flag that is traditionally recognized today. The “Stars and Bars” flag, currently the subject of controversy, was actually the battle flag of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
After the war ended, the symbol became a source of Southern pride and heritage, as well as a remembrance of Confederate soldiers who died in battle. But as racism and segregation gripped the nation in the century following, it became a divisive and violent emblem of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups. It was also the symbol of the States’ Rights Democratic Party, or “Dixiecrats,” that formed in 1948 to oppose civil-rights platforms of the Democratic Party. Then-South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond was the splinter group’s nominee for president that same year; he won 39 electoral votes.
Now, the flag is a frequent emblem of modern white supremacist groups. The alleged Charleston shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, was photographed holding the Confederate flag in images on his website. Not all southerners, who believe the flag should be flown, however, see it as a racist symbol. They see it, instead, as a symbol of southern pride or as a way to remember ancestors who fought in the Civil War.
Why is it flying at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.?
The Confederate flag flies on the dome of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., in 2000.
Eric Draper/Associated Press
The flag was first flown over the state Capitol dome (passed by the Democratic Legislature) in 1962 to mark the centennial of the start of the Civil War, but many saw it as a reaction to the civil-rights movement and school desegregation. For nearly four decades, it continued to be a controversial issue in the Palmetto State. A 1994 nonbinding referendum placed on the GOP primary ballot found that three-in-four voters said the flag should keep flying. That same year, black ministers and the NAACP threatened a boycott of the state if the flag didn’t come down, and business leaders sued to remove the flag.
But in 2000, a compromise was reached — the battle flag would be removed from atop the dome and a smaller, square version would be placed at a less-prominent place on the Statehouse grounds — on a 20-foot pole next to the 30-foot Confederate monument. But that didn’t end the controversy, and many years of protests, criticism and boycotts followed.
What is the process to remove the flag in South Carolina?
The “Get In Step” marchers pass by a small group of Confederate Flag supporters Tuesday, April 4, 2000, near Wells, S.C., on their way to Orangeburg on the third day of the march to Columbia to have the flag taken down from the Statehouse.
Mary Ann Chastain /Associated Press
According to the 2000 change, a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate is required to remove the flag. However, there may be a workaround, and the law itself could be changed by a simple majority. ThePost & Courier has a running tally of state lawmakers and how they stand on the issue. At her press conference, Haley said if the Legislature doesn’t finish its session by acting to remove the flag, she will call an additional session.
Also under the 2000 compromise: lowering the flag requires approval of the Legislature, which is why even after Haley ordered the American and South Carolina flags ordered to half-staff following last Wednesday’s massacre, the Confederate flag remained at full staff.
What other states have had controversies about the Confederate flag?
Protesters close their eyes in silent prayer as they stand on the South Carolina Statehouse steps during a rally to take down the Confederate flag, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Columbia, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press
Many Southern states’ current flags are inspired by the “Rebel flag.” Georgia’s flag was changed to incorporate part of the Confederate flag into its own in 1956. From 2001 to 2003, a new flag that removed the more prominent emblem was adopted, and instead itfeatured the state seal with past flags at the bottom. The design was widely panned, though, and, in 2003, a new state flag was adopted. The new design instead draws from parts of the actual flag of the Confederate States of America and not the Confederate battle flag.
Mississippi’s state flag remains the only one in the U.S. that still features the battle flag prominently. In 2001, Magnolia State voters decidedto keep the current flag by a wide margin. The University of Mississippi, or “Ole Miss,” has also faced controversy. In 1997, waving Confederate flags at football games was banned. “Colonel Reb,” their Confederate soldier mascot, was retired in 2003 and, “From Dixie With Love” was dropped from the marching band set list.
What have top Republicans and presidential candidates said about the flag?
The question of whether to remove the controversial flag has played a role in presidential politics thanks to the state’s early primary status.
Among current 2016 hopefuls, only Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has explicitly endorsed the controversial flag’s removal, noting he decided to remove it from the Florida statehouse grounds to a museum during his tenure.
Before Haley’s press conference, other GOP candidates, and potential candidates, had walked a line on the flag, either declining to weigh in or underscoring that it’s a decision that should be up to South Carolina. But afterward, there was a flood of support from many candidates. Here’s a brief roundup of where others stand and stood:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had said he wouldn’t weigh in until after funerals of the Charleston victims. But then he tweeted this afternoon, “I am glad @nikkihaley is calling for the Confederate flag to come down. I support her decision.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he hoped the state would “make the right choice for the people of South Carolina”; as a state legislator, he voted for a bill that would have kept the Confederate flag on the Florida Capitol grounds in order to protect historical monuments.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said in a statement that he supported Haley’s decision, saying it “honors the people of Charleston, and the families of the victims of last week’s horrific hate crime. Removing the flag is an act of healing and unity, that allows us to find a shared purpose based on the values that unify us. May God continue to be with the families of the victims in Charleston, and the great people of South Carolina.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the decision was “not an issue for someone running for president.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Washington Post that it was a matter for South Carolinians to decide, but that “I understand the passions that this debate evokes on both sides.”
John Kasich would support removing the flag before Haley’s press conference and afterward he said, “the flag should come down.”
Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, supported its removal in the past. He tweeted: “[T]o many, it is a symbol of racial hatred” and should be taken down.
Several Republican members of Congress have also said they support the Confederate flag’s removal; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., endorsed the flag’s removal, calling it “a painful reminder of racial oppression.” And, he added, “the time for a state to fly it has long since passed.”
After Haley’s press conference, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement saying that he “support[s] the call by Governor Haley and South Carolina leaders to remove the Confederate battle flag from state house grounds.”
African-American Pastor Horrified at How Many Black Babies Abortion Kills
BY REBECCA DOWNS
The Rev. Elaine Flake of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York has recently learned of and reacted to the statistics of black women having abortions in New York City.
Flake reacted in disbelief, initially wondering if the statistics were even true.
The Christian Post, reporting on the Rev., dedicates one paragraph to such statistics of black women, as well as links to a previous article of theirs:
As CP has reported, citing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: “Black women in New York City aborted more than half of their pregnancies in 2012, topping the number of abortions recorded by women of every other racial or ethnic group in the city.” The report revealed that more than any other ethnic group in NYC, black women were the leading abortion patients and also had the highest pregnancy and miscarriage rates.
The Christian Post mostly focuses on Rev. Flake’s reactions to the abortion trend, as well as many other troubling statistics for the black community on marriage, miscarriages and out of wedlock pregnancies.
Millions of black babies have been aborted. The number amount to more than 16 million, actually. These rates create skewed ratio too, considering that, according to the 2010 census data, blacks made up 12.6% of the population. And, as Abort73.com broke down:
In 2009, a total of 286,623 blacks died in the U.S.14 That same year, an estimated 1.21 million abortions took place in the United States.15 If 35.4% were performed on black women, that means almost twice as many blacks were killed by abortion as by all other causes.
As the state health report mentions, it is not just that the abortion rate of black babies nationwide is alarming, but in New York City. As if such statistics could not be more of a cause for shock and concern, the rate at which black women abort their babies in New York City, the Reverend’s own back yard, is even more troubling.
In New York City, 37 percent of all pregnancies ended in abortion in 2012. According to 41 Percent NYC, that’s nearly twice the national average. Queens, where Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York is located has an abortion rate that is lower than that, but only slightly so, at 35 percent.
These are overall abortion rates for New York City though. If the above statistics for New York City are not disturbing enough, the specifics for blacks in the area will be.
Black women obviously need support then, but are they really getting it? Unfortunately, the answer may be that they are not getting as much help as truly needed.
Rev. Flake mentions that she is not aware of women in her church having dealt personally with abortion, since no one has ever gone to her:
CP suggested that with such a large congregation in Queens, it was likely some women belonging to The Greater Allen A.M.E Cathedral have had to personally deal with the issue of abortion. Pastor Flake agreed that it was likely, saying, “I would imagine, I’m not sure. No one has ever come to me, but I would think with that kind of percentage that that could be the case.”
Women are suffering in silence through the confusion of unplanned pregnancies and the pain of abortion while they lacked the necessary support. Let Rev. Elaine Flake be an example of the church being more involved to help women then.
Rev. Flake was in attendance at the Women’s Power Breakfast and participated in a “Black Church Panel,” along with her husband, who also leads the church alongside her. The two events were part of a conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
As the leader of a mega-church of 23,000 people and participating at such events, Rev. Elaine Flake is no stranger to taking initiative it would seem. Now that she is aware of the rate of which her race is being killed off in her own city, perhaps she and others will answer the call to end this genocide of innocent black babies in the womb.
Hillary Clinton’s speech Tuesday at a historic black church in Missouri was mostly well-received by the audience, but three words angered some of the activists she was hoping to appeal to.
Clinton spoke to frequent applause about religion, racism, access to education, repairing communities and the shooting last week in Charleston, S.C.
The church where Clinton spoke, Christ the King United Church of Christ, is in Florissant, Mo., fewer than 5 miles from where the rioting and protesting happened in Ferguson.
But she’s now facing criticism on social media after using the phrase “all lives matter” — which has been used by some as pushback to the phrase “black lives matter.” The latter phrase, which hung on a banner outside the church, was widely used by protesters in Ferguson and other cities.
Before using the phrase, Clinton was retelling an anecdote about the lessons she learned from her mother.
“I asked her, ‘What kept you going?’ Her answer was very simple. Kindness along the way from someone who believed she mattered. All lives matter.”
To some in the pews, what Clinton said fell flat. Or worse:
“With her statement that all lives matter, that blew a lot of support that she may have been able to engender here,” said Renita Lamkin, a pastor at the St. John AME Church in St. Charles. She is white and while protesting in Ferguson was hit in the gut with a rubber bullet. Her passion comes in part because her children are African-American.
“My children matter,” she said. “And I need to hear my president say that the lives of my children matter. That my little black children matter. Because right now our society does not say that they matter. Black lives matter. That’s what she needs to say.”
Clinton’s campaign points out she did say “black lives matter,” late last year. But that didn’t stop a flood of complaints on Facebook and Twitter after Clinton’s speech:
Gabrielle Kennedy, also in audience at the church, had a more charitable reaction.
“I knew when she said it that there would be people who would not be happy with that. But I am of the belief that it’s a process,” she said.
And some on Twitter defended Clinton’s comment, including Democratic strategist and former Bill Clinton campaign advisor Donna Brazile:
‘It Takes Time’
In nearby Ferguson, burned-out businesses are still boarded up on West Florissant Avenue. Charles Davis, owner of the Ferguson Burger Bar, counts his blessings.
“We were saved by God. Nothing happened to us,” Davis said.
But business still isn’t back to where it was. And neither is the community. Ferguson is trying to heal from the wound ripped open when a black 18-year-old was shot by a white police officer.
“It takes time. A year is not long enough. But what people should understand is a lot of changes that needed be made has been made,” he said.
Many of the activists who rose up after the shooting of Michael Brown were on hand when Clinton spoke.
She spoke about the recent shooting in Charleston, and asked, “How do we make sense of such an evil act? An act of racist terrorism perpetrated in a house of God?” Clinton also praised the ability of the families of the victims to look at the accused gunman and offer forgiveness.
After her speech, still in front of an audience, Clinton sat down for an hourlong discussion with community leaders. Kennedy, who was there, gives Clinton credit for coming to Missouri and listening.
“What you saw on that stage there, in the pulpit area there, how we take care of ourselves. This is us doing us, and it’s fabulous stuff,” Kennedy said.
A pastor delivered a final prayer before Clinton left. And in it, she called for this to be the beginning of a conversation. Not the end.
SSRI Stories is a collection of over 6,000 stories that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including violence.
This updated site includes the stories from the previous site and new ones from 2011 to date. We have used a new “category” classification system on the new stories. We are working back through previously SSRI Stories to bring them into the new classification system. In the meantime use the search box in the upper right column to search through both the old and the new stories.
SSRI Stories focuses primarily on problems caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac (fluoxetine) was the first. For more see About SSRIs. Other medications prescribed as antidepressants that fit the “nightmares” theme of the collected stories are sometimes included.
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit (Grace Slick, Woodstock, aug 17 1969)
Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to love
Dylann Roof makes first South Carolina court appearance
Bond Hearing For Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof (Full Unedited): First Court Appearance
New video shows church group moments before shooting
Who is Dylann Roof?
Dylann Roof: Charleston Church Shooting | True News
Obama in 2004 on His Personal Drinking/Drug Use
‘I Got High': Obama Talks About His Use of Drugs
Obama Says Legalizing Drugs is Worthy of Debate
The REAL Reason for the Mass Shooting Epidemic in America
The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About
Is Depression a Mental Illness? No.
Psychotropic Drugs: The Hidden Dangers
SSRI Drugs are Dangerous!
SSRI Withdrawals – Do Natural Products Help?
Silent Side Effects of SSRI – Mass Murders and Suicide
Medicated to Death: SSRIs and Mass Killings
SSRI’s Behind Mass Shootings – Psych Speaks Out!
Friend: Dyllan Storm Roof Took Gun from His Mom – She Didn’t Trust Him With It (VIDEO)
Witnesses: Shooter said he was there ‘to shoot black…
Charleston Church Shootings: Special Report
Best 7 minutes on gun control I have ever seen!
In this segment of his Virtual State of the Union, the Virtual President talks about why politicians want to talk about gun control rather than crime control, and delivers the factual evidence and historical truths that make the case for the Second Amendment self-evident.
Dr Susan Gratia-Hupp – Survivor of the 1991 Kileen TX Lubys Shooting Massacre
Hupp and her parents were having lunch at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen in 1991 when the Luby’s massacre commenced. The gunman shot 50 people and killed 23, including Hupp’s parents. Hupp later expressed regret about deciding to remove her gun from her purse and lock it in her car lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state’s concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was “a hundred feet away in my car.” Her father, Al Gratia, tried to rush the gunman and was shot in the chest. As the gunman reloaded, Hupp escaped through a broken window and believed that her mother, Ursula Gratia, was behind her. Actually however, her mother went to her mortally-wounded husband’s aid and was then shot in the head.
As a survivor of the Luby’s massacre, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws. She said that if there had been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.
The Animals – The House of the Rising Sun
“House Of The Rising Sun”
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m oneMy mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a gamblin’ man
Down in New OrleansNow the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk[Organ Solo]Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising SunWell, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chainWell, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m one
The Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin
Charleston shooting: c’s stepmother defends ‘smart’ boy ‘drawn in by internet evil’
The stepmother of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with nine counts of murder for the shooting at a church in Charleston, has spoken out in his defence.
Paige Mann, who was married to Mr Roof’s father for 10 years and helped raise him, said that her stepson was so smart that he became bored in school and was a germophobe for some time.
“He went to catechism, he went to church,” Ms Mann said. “He was locked in his room looking up bad stuff on the computer.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News, she said: “Something on the computer drew him in – this is Internet evil. We just thought he was a lazy, this-generation kind of kid.”
Mr Roof’s manifesto, published online, shows how the 21-year-old’s views hardened after the shooting of Travyon Martin in Florida in 2012. Ms Paige claimed that it was only after her step-son began living with his mother over the past few years that he became a recluse.
Mr Roof sat with members of the Emanuel African Methodist Epsicopal Church for nearly an hour before he allegedly shot nine of them dead, including the pastor.
Divorce papers filed by Ms Paige in 2008 claim that Franklin Roof had hit her and that any hope Dylann had of a normal home left with her, it was reported by the Inquisitr.
According to the manifesto, which was updated just hours before the fatal attack, he believed that he had no choice but to carry out the attack on the church and “chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state”.
CHARLESTON SHOOTING – Disaster Being Used to Forward Gun Control Agenda
Charleston Shooting: “Hate Crimes” and White Fear
Fox News Host ‘Surprise’ as Obama ‘Quick’ Invoke Gun Control on Charleston Mass Shooting
Fox’s Steve Doocy and Guest Wonder Whether Charleston Shooting Part of ‘War on Christians’
O’Reilly Battles NC Victim’s Friend For Blaming Fox ‘Hate Speech’ for Charleston Shooting on CNN
Mass Murders caused by Pharma Meds… Not Guns!
Medicated to Death: SSRIs and Mass Killings
Chris Greene “SSRI Drugs are responsible for School Massacre”
Michael Savage, caller on how massacres occur at “gun-free” zones, not in armed places like Israel
Ft. Hood Shooting Reactions And The Horrors Of SSRIs
Affidavits spell out chilling case against Dylann Roof
As a subdued Dylann Roof made his first official appearance Friday on charges of killing nine people at a historic black church, police affidavits offered grim details of the murder case, including an allegation that the gunman fired multiple shots into each victim and stood over them to issue “a racially inflammatory statement.”
The documents also said that Roof’s father and uncle contacted police to positively identify the 21-year-old as the suspect after authorities issued photos of the gunman within hours of the attack at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston Wednesday evening.
As those details trickled out, the suspect’s family issued a statement expressing sadness and offering condolences to the families of the victims:
Dylann Roof’s father, according to the court documents, told investigators that his son owned a .45-caliber handgun. The documents note that .45-caliber casings were found at the scene of the shootings.
The affidavits allege that Roof, wearing a fanny pack apparently to hide a weapon, spent an hour with the parishioners before opening fire on the group. Before leaving the scene of the carnage, he allegedly “uttered a racially inflammatory statement” over the bodies to a witness who was apparently allowed to survive to convey the message.
Roof was returned to South Carolina after waiving his extradition rights following his arrest Thursday near Shelby, N.C., about 245 miles northwest of Charleston.
He appeared at ease when he allegedly told investigators shortly after his capture that he had launched the attack that left nine dead, a federal law enforcement official said. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said that the suspect expressed no remorse and appeared “comfortable” with what he had done.
Authorities have determined that Roof legally obtained a .45-caliber handgun earlier this year, using money likely provided as birthday gift from his family, the official said. The weapon was purchased at gun store near Columbia, S.C.
Statements made by some family members of victims were particularly powerful.
Charleston shooting: What is a ‘hate crime’?
Appearing by video link from jail, the 21-year-old Roof, who was handcuffed and wore a striped jail jumpsuit, often pursed his lips, closed his eyes, or stared at the floor as the relatives of five victims spoke to the court at the bond hearing.
“You took something really precious away from me, I will never talk to her again, never hold her again, but I forgive you,” said the daughter of one of the victims, Ethel Lance. “You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people but God forgive you and I forgive you.”
Roof appeared wan and subdued, his distinctive bowl hair, shown in surveillance photos outside the church on the night of the killings, stringy and unkempt. He stood with his hands cuffed behind his back. Two heavily armed guards stood behind him.
Bethanee Middleton-Brown, sister of another victim, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, addressed the hearing amid sniffles and sobs in the tiny courtroom.
She said her sister “taught me me that we are the family that love built, we have no room for hate, so we have to forgive. And I pray to God for your soul and I also thank God that And I also thank God I won’t be around when your judgment day comes with him.”
Although the court legally could not issue any bond in on the murder charges, Magistrate James Gosnell Jr. set Roof’s bond on a related weapons possession charge at $1 million.
Roof, who often swallowed hard as the judge asked questions, spoke only three times, answering “yes, sir” and “no, sir” to questions about his employment status. Roof is unemployed.
At the opening of the emotional, 13-minute hearing, Gosnell addressed the court, saying Charleston is a strong, loving community with “big hearts.”
“We are going to reach out to everyone, all the victims, and we will touch them,” he said. “We have victims — nine of them — but we also have victims on the other side.
“There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. No one would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into … We must find it in their heart to also help his family as well.”
In Washington, meanwhile, Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said the federal inquiry into the church shooting is ongoing.
What happens to mass killers: the data behind the crimes
Pierce said the investigation will not only consider possible hate crime violations, but prosecutors also will review the shooting as a possible “act of domestic terrorism.”
“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles,” Pierce said.
Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph Riley said although he doesn’t condone the death penalty, he thinks prosecutors will seek it in the Emanuel AME church shooting. VPC
Gov. Nikki Haley, speaking on NBC’s Today show on Friday, said that “we will absolutely will want him to have the death penalty” for the fatal shooting of nine members of a Bible study group at the Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday evening.
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., said at a news conference Friday that though he’s not a proponent of the death penalty, it’s the law in South Carolina and he expects it will be sought in the church shooting. “If you are going to have a death penalty, certainly this case would merit it,” Riley said.
Shelby police officials did not interview Roof formally, according to WBTV, a Charlotte TV station, which quotes an unidentified source as saying the suspect was videotaped during the entire time he was at the Shelby police department.
The source told WBTV that Roof spoke freely, told investigators he had been planning the attack for a period of time, had researched the Emanuel AME Church and targeted it because it was a historic African-American church.
According to WBTV’s source, Roof told investigators he had a Glock handgun hidden behind a pouch he was wearing around his waist. He also told investigators he thought he’d only shot a few people and when told he actually had killed nine people, he appeared to be somewhat remorseful, according to the source.
During the recorded conversation, Roof reportedly told investigators he actually thought he would be caught in Charleston before fleeing and was headed to Nashville when he was captured. When asked why he was going to Nashville, he reportedly told investigators “I’ve never been there before.”
Police alleged that Roof opened fire on worshipers after sitting with them for at least an hour. The victims included the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, 41, who was also a state senator.
The 21-year-old man accused of killing nine people as they worshiped at a Charleston, South Carolina church has a criminal past. Dylann Roof was arrested twice this year and images of him posted to social media seem to show a racist ideology. WCNC
Roof allegedly told police he “almost didn’t go through with (the shooting) because everyone was so nice to him,” other sources told NBC News’ Craig Melvin.
Police say they thought Roof was the lone gunman within hours of the bloody attack on the church, which was founded in 1816. Asked whether authorities believe Roof had acted alone, Mullen said: “We don’t have any reason to believe anyone else was involved.”
A one-time acquaintance of Roof’s told the Associated Press that he would rant that “blacks were taking over the world” as the pair got drunk on vodka.
Roof railed that “someone needed to do something about it for the white race,” said the former friend, Joseph Meek Jr., according to the AP.
Story 1: Billionaires For Bush and Clinton — American People For Anyone Else — Nurse Ratchet Is Back — Money Cannot Buy You Love — It’s My Turn — Videos
Be it or be it not true that Man is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that Government is begotten of aggression, and by aggression.
~Herbert Spencer, 1850
This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention, the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State; that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long-run sustains, nourishes and impels human destinies.
~Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1922
It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.
For more than 70 years, with few exceptions, more Americans have identified as Democrats than Republicans. But the share of independents, which surpassed the percentages of either Democrats or Republicans several years ago, continues to increase. Currently, 39% Americans identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. Report:A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation
Note: 1939-1989 yearly averages from the Gallup Organization interactive website. 1990-2014 yearly totals from Pew Research Center aggregate files. Based on the general public. Data unavailable for 1941. Independent data unavailable for 1951-1956.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Randal back in action scene
i want my cigarettes
The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love (Live)
Hillary Clinton Announces Her Bid For President. Again.
This Aug. 24, 2012 photo provided by FDR Four Freedoms Park LLC, shows the New York City memorial park, honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that has been completed 40 years after the original design was created. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of 2-mile-long Roosevelt Island – between Manhattan and Queens – is being dedicated Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in a ceremony to be attended by dignitaries including former President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (AP Photo/FDR Four Freedoms Park LLC, Paul Warchol)
Clinton touts shared prosperity in campaign kick-off speech
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THE CLINTON CONSPIRACY – MUST WATCH
Google “Bill Clinton rape”
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CNN Poll Shows Hillary Clinton “Shine Has Tarnished” And She Is Losing Support Of Independents
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Conservative Heads Explode Over Jeb Bush Immigration Comments
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How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 1.
Census Bureau estimates of the number of illegals in the U.S. are suspect and may represent significant undercounts. The studies presented by these authors show that the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S. could range from 20 to 38 million.
On October 3, 2007, a press conference and panel discussion was hosted by Californians for Population Stabilization (http://www.CAPSweb.org) and The Social Contract (http://www.TheSocialContract.com) to discuss alternative methodologies for estimating the true numbers of illegal aliens residing in the United States.
This is a presentation of five panelists presenting at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on October 3, 2007. The presentations are broken into a series of video segments:
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2
Jeb Bush Urges ‘Earned Legal Status’ For 11 Million Illegal Aliens
Did Ann Coulter Save USA with funny & brilliant Immigration CPAC Speech?
Laura Ingraham slams Jeb Bush at CPAC
Jeb Bush to officially announce 2016 presidential run
Jeb Bush Finally Announces He Will Run for President
Jeb Bush – Just Another W?
Raw video: Jeb Bush speaks at Politics and Eggs
Diana Ross – Do You Know Where You’re Going To ( Theme From Soundtrack Mahogany )
Diana Ross It’s My Turn
JEB BUSH HAS OPTIMISTIC MESSAGE, FACES CHALLENGES IN ’16 BID
BY STEVE PEOPLES AND BRENDAN FARRINGTON
Jeb Bush is launching a Republican presidential bid months in the making Monday with a vow to get Washington “out of the business of causing problems” and to stay true to his beliefs – easier said than done in a bristling primary contest where his conservative credentials will be sharply challenged.
“I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching,” Bush said in excerpts of a speech released by his campaign before his afternoon announcement. Bush was opening his campaign at a rally near his south Florida home at Miami Dade College, where the institution’s large and diverse student body symbolizes the nation he seeks to lead.
In an unusual twist for a political speech aimed at a national audience, Bush, who is bilingual, planned to speak partly in Spanish. The former Florida governor has made minority outreach a priority.
“In any language,” his speech said, “my message will be an optimistic one because I am certain that we can make the decades just ahead in America the greatest time ever to be alive in this world.”
In a video for the event, showing women, minorities and a disabled child, Bush says “the most vulnerable in our society should be in the front of the line and not the back.” This calls for “new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them so that people can rise up.”
Neither his father, former President George H.W. Bush, nor his brother, former President George W. Bush, was expected to attend. The family was to be represented instead by Jeb Bush’s mother and former first lady, Barbara Bush, who once said that the country didn’t need yet another Bush as president, and by his son George P. Bush, recently elected Texas land commissioner.
Before the event, the Bush campaign came out with a new logo – Jeb! – that conspicuously leaves out the Bush surname.
Bush joins the race in progress in some ways in a commanding position. Bush has probably raised a record amount of money to support his candidacy and conceived of a new approach on how to structure his campaign, both aimed at allowing him to make a deep run into the GOP primaries.
But on other measures, early public opinion polls among them, he has yet to break out. While unquestionably one of the top-tier candidates in the GOP race, he is also only one of several in a large and capable Republican field that does not have a true front-runner.
In the past six months, Bush has made clear he will remain committed to his core beliefs in the campaign to come – even if his positions on immigration and education standards are deeply unpopular among the conservative base of the party that plays an outsized role in the GOP primaries.
Tea party leader Mark Meckler on Monday said Bush’s positions on education and immigration are “a nonstarter with many conservatives.”
“There are two political dynasties eyeing 2016,” said Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the movement’s largest organizations, and now leader of Citizens for Self-Governance. “And before conservatives try to beat Hillary, they first need to beat Bush.”
Yet a defiant Bush has showed little willingness to placate his party’s right wing.
“I’m not going to change who I am,” Bush said as he wrapped up a European trip on the weekend. “I respect people who may not agree with me, but I’m not going to change my views because today someone has a view that’s different.”
Bush is one of 11 major Republicans in the hunt for the nomination. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are among those still deciding whether to join a field that could end up just shy of 20.
After touring four early-voting states, Bush quickly launches a private fundraising tour with stops in at least 11 cities before the end of the month. Two events alone – a reception at Union Station in Washington on Friday and a breakfast the following week on Seventh Avenue in New York – will account for almost $2 million in new campaign cash, according to invitations that list more than 75 already committed donors.
Jeb Bush Announces GOP Presidential Campaign
Enters crowded Republican field with the party faithful divided over the GOP’s direction
By BYRON TAU
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, flipping the switch on an expansive campaign operation he has quietly been building for months.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on Monday, June 15, 2015 in Miami.PHOTO:REUTERS
“Here’s what it comes down to. Our country is on a very bad course. And the question is: What are we going to do about it? The question for me is: What am I going to do about it?” he said. “And I have decided. I am a candidate for president of the United States.”
Mr. Bush, who becomes the third member of his family to seek the nation’s highest office, spoke while delivering his official campaign speech at Miami-Dade College.
Earlier, he officially kicked off his candidacy by filing paperwork to run for president with the Federal Election Commission.
The son and brother of two U.S. presidents, Mr. Bush enters a presidential field crowded with young up-and-coming Republican talent and an electorate deeply divided about the future direction of both the Republican Party and the nation.
In laying out the case for his candidacy, Mr. Bush promised an uplifting message about the direction and future of the country.
“In any language, my message will be an optimistic one because I am certain that we can make the decades just ahead in America the greatest time ever to be alive in this world,” Mr. Bush said.
And the former Florida governor boasted about job and economic growth and tax cuts in the state over his tenure.
Jeb Bush is not that far off politically from brother George W., but the two have very different personalities and backgrounds. Photo: AP
Though Mr. Bush has built a sizable campaign war chest and attracted veteran operatives for both his campaign and his independent super PAC—polls show him barely registering above 10% in a crowded primary field.
He’ll also face a Republican primary electorate that has grown more conservative since his brother George W. Bush ran for election in 2000 on a platform of what he called compassionate conservatism.
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On two issues in particular—immigration andeducation—Mr. Bush finds himself on the opposite side from many grassroots activists in the Republican Party. Mr. Bush has long supported changes to the nation’s immigration system that would allow illegal immigrants a path to legal status. He also has expressed support for national education standards opposed by many conservative activists.
Mr. Bush also faces the challenge of distancing himself in the voters’ eyes from his family name and legacy. His brother, George W. Bush, left office with sagging approval ratings due in part to his role as the architect of a divisive and unpopular war in Iraq.
Jeb Bush has spent months planning his entrance into the 2016 presidential campaign and he will enter with the most name recognition and money of his GOP field. WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains. Photo: AP
Mr. Bush unveiled a campaign logo on Monday that downplays his family’s last name. The stylized red logo contains only Mr. Bush’s first name with an exclamation point. His father, George H.W. Bush, and brother, George W. Bush, aren’t expected to attend his campaign kickoff.
Mr. Bush has been traveling the country in the past few months banking campaign cash for an independent group that is expected to support his efforts. With his deep ties to the Republican donor class and the business community, Mr. Bush has built a formidable operation and a major war chest.
Once he becomes an official candidate, he won’t be able to coordinate with the super PAC, which will be run out of Los Angeles. Mr. Bush’s official campaign is based in Florida.
Jeb Bush: I cry, I’m introverted, but I want to be president
Third member of the Bush dynasty finally to announce candidacy for Republican nomination
Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, in Tallinn, Estonia, on SaturdayPhoto: Bloomberg
By Joanna Walters, New York and Raf Sanchez, Miami
Jeb Bush will finally end months of speculation and announce he is running for the American presidency on Monday, in a campaign carefully calibrated to portray himself as a natural heir to the family dynasty and at the same time distance himself from his brother George W.
In a key-note interview, he described his father, the first President George Bush, as the “greatest man alive” and said the mere thought of him might make him cry.
But by contrast he was careful to differentiate himself from his brother. “Jeb is different from George,” he told CNN. “Jeb is who he is and his life story is different.”
Mr Bush plans to announce he is running for the White House in Miami on Monday, after months of unofficial campaigning.
He unveiled his campaign logo via social media site Twitter on Sunday, and immediately ran into teasing from the public that it is almost identical to the logo he used when he ran, successfully, for the governorship of Florida in 1998.
The logo is simply his first name in bright red with an exclamation mark and 2016 underneath. His governor’s campaign logo was also ‘Jeb!’
“It’s something that’s been lacking in the presidency, to have someone who’s been tempered by life, and along the way I will get to share that,” said Mr Bush, who at 62 is eighteen years older than Mr Rubio and eight years older even than the departing president.
Polls show the two men, along with Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, as the current front-runners for the Republican nomination.
Mr Bush will make his campaign announcement in his hometown of Miami and will be joined by his wife Columba, a Mexican-born woman who has largely shied away from the public spotlight.
The story of how they met as teenagers featured prominently in a video Mr Bush released shortly before the announcement.
“I need to share my heart to show a little bit about my life experience,” Mr Bush said in the video.
While it has been clear for months that Mr Bush intended to run he has used the time ahead of his formal announcement to raise funds for a superPAC, a nominally independent group that will support his candidacy.
Mr Bush is said to have already amassed a campaign war chest of more than $100 million, according to the website Politico.
But he is among the most moderate of the Republican contenders when it comes to domestic policy. Unlike others in his party he has not lashed out at national education standards and has taken a more measured tone on immigration.
Mr Bush, who speaks fluent Spanish, may be able to attract the votes of Hispanic voters who are an increasingly crucial voting group in US elections.
However, the conservative activists who play a major role in determining the Republican nominee may pressure Mr Bush to take a harsher line on immigration.
He has already backed away from his previous support for a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the US for a long time. Mrs Clinton supports such a path, as does President Barack Obama.
Mr Bush has denied he was trying to cut himself off from his famous name, but admitted he had a difficult task to show the man beneath the family.
“I don’t have to dissociate myself from my family, you know, I love them but I know that for me to be successful I’m going to have to share my heart, tell my story,” he added.
“It’s important. It’s something that took a little bit of getting used to for me, personally, to be able to show my heart, because I’m kind of introverted, but it’s important to do,” he said.
He was asked about his father, who turned 91 on June 12 and whether he would be on his mind when he announces his own candidacy to follow in the family footsteps.
“I’m not going to think about that because Bushes are known to cry once in a while. It’s very emotional for me,” he said. “I love my dad. He’s just the greatest man alive,” he said.
Mr Bush said he was looking forward to telling a life story that was “full of warts and full of successes”, where he had had to make “tough decisions”.Most startling is that it completely leaves out the famous family name that has given him a head start in the 2016 presidential race.
Clinton formally launches 2016 campaign with focus on economic equality
Hillary Clinton on Saturday officially launched her 2016 presidential campaign, calling for a return to shared prosperity and asking American workers, students and others to trust her to fight for them.
Clinton made the announcement at an outdoor rally on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, two months after announcing her campaign with an online video.
“You have to wonder: When do I get ahead? I say now,” Clinton told the crowd in a roughly 46-minute speech. “You brought the country back. Now it’s your time to enjoy the prosperity. That is why I’m running for president of the United States.”
The former first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state is the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 White House race.
Also in the race are Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffe.
She lost her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Obama.
Clinton, wearing her signature blue pantsuit, walked through the crowd en route to the stage for her speech.
She remarked that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a “testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad.”
Clinton also drew into focus what will likely be the key themes of her campaign including support for same-sex marriage, wage equality for women and all Americans, affordable college tuition and free child-care and pre-kindergarten.
“The top-25 hedge fund managers make more than all kindergarten teachers combined,” she said. “And they’re paying lower taxes.”
Clinton attempted to portray herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind in the post-recession economy, detailing a lifetime of work on behalf of struggling families. She said her mother’s difficult childhood inspired what she considers a calling.
“I have been called many things by many people,” Clinton said.” Quitter is not one of them.”
She said that attribute came from her late mother, Dorothy Rodham, in whom she would confide after hard days in the Senate and at the State Department.
“I wish my mother could have been with us longer,” Clinton said. “I wish she could have seen the America we are going to build together … where we don’t leave any one out or any one behind.”
Clinton was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea.
She also was critical in her speech of Republicans, suggesting they have reserved economic prosperity for the wealthy, in large part by cutting taxes for the country’s highest wage-earners.
She also accused them of trying to “wipe out tough rules on Wall Street,” take away health insurance from more than 16 million Americans without offering any “credible alternative” and turning their backs on “gay people who love each other.”
The Republican National Committee said in response that Clinton’s campaign was full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric and ideas from the past.
“Next year, Americans will reject the failed policies of the past and elect a Republican president,” RNC Press Secretary Allison Moore said.
Republicans also argued Clinton devoted only about five minutes of her speech to foreign policy.
Clinton now heads to four early-primary states, starting Saturday night in Iowa where she will talk with volunteers and others about grassroots-campaign efforts for the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
The organizational meeting will be simulcast to Clinton camps across the country and serve as a blueprint for them all 435 congressional districts.
She then travels to New Hampshire on June 15, South Carolina on June 17 and in Nevada on June 18.
Clinton vowed Saturday to roll out specific policy proposals in the coming weeks, including ones on rewriting the tax code and sustainable energy.
In what was her first major speech of her campaign, she also cited President Obama, Roosevelt and her husband, saying they embraced the idea that “real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.”
Holding the event on an island between Queens and Manhattan raised some criticism about its accessibility by vehicle and public transportation.
The campaign estimated the event crowd, whose members needed a ticket, at 5,500. However, the number appeared smaller, and the overflow section was empty.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a speech that was at times sweeping and at times policy laden, delivered on Saturday a pointed repudiation of Republican economic policies and a populist promise to reverse the gaping gulf between the rich and poor at her biggest campaign event to date.
Under sunny skies and surrounded by flag-waving supporters on Roosevelt Island in New York, Mrs. Clinton pledged to run an inclusive campaign and to create a more inclusive economy, saying that even the new voices in the Republican Party continued to push “the top-down economic policies that failed us before.”
“These Republicans trip over themselves promising lower taxes for the wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations without any regard on how that will make income inequality worse,” she said before a crowd estimated at 5,500, according to the campaign.
“I’m not running for some Americans, but for all Americans,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I’m running for all Americans.”
Offering her case for the presidency, she rested heavily on her biography. Her candidacy, she said, was in the name of “everyone who has ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out.”
Mrs. Clinton portrayed herself as a fighter, sounding a theme her campaign had emphasized in recent days. “I’ve been called many things by many people, quitter is not one of them,” she said.
Standing on a platform set in the middle of a grassy memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt on the East River island named after him, Mrs. Clinton invoked his legacy. She also praised President Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, but declared that “we face new challenges” in the aftermath of the economic crisis.
While some Republican detractors have tried to make an issue of Mrs. Clinton’s age (if she won she would be 69 when she took office in January 2017), she sought to embrace it and to rebut the notion that she cannot stand for change or modernity. Offering her campaign contact information, she spoke about the lives of gay people, saying Republicans “turn their backs on gay people who love each other.”
In one of the biggest applause lines, she said: “I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.”
Underscoring the point with a riff on an old Beatles song, Mrs. Clinton said: “There may be some new voices in the presidential Republican choir. But they’re all singing the same old song.”
“It’s a song called ‘Yesterday,’ ” she continued. “They believe in yesterday.”
Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called the speech “chock-full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric and ideas from the past that led to a sluggish economy.”
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Mrs. Clinton specified policies she would push for, including universal prekindergarten, paid family leave, equal pay for women, college affordability and incentives for companies that provide profit-sharing to employees. She also spoke of rewriting the tax code “so it rewards hard work at home” rather than corporations “stashing profits overseas.” She did not detail how she would achieve those policies or address their costs.
Mrs. Clinton spoke to the criticism that her wealth makes her out of touch with middle-class Americans, saying her candidacy is for “factory workers and food servers who stand on their feet all day, for the nurses who work the night shift, for the truckers who drive for hours.”
Uncomfortable with the fiery rhetoric of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, Mrs. Clinton offered some stark statistics to address the concerns of the Democratic Party’s restless left. “The top 25 hedge fund managers make more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined, often paying a lower tax rate,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton said many Americans must be asking, “When does my family get ahead?” She added: “When? I say now.”
In a campaign in which Republicans have emphasized the growing threat of Islamic terrorism and an unstable Middle East, Mrs. Clinton hardly mentioned foreign policy. She did speak of her experience as a senator from New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“As your president, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Americans safe,” she said, weaving the skyline and a view of the newly built One World Trade Center into her remarks.
For as much as the content of the speech mattered, the theater of it was equally important. For a campaign criticized for lacking passion, the event gave Mrs. Clinton the ability to create a camera-ready tableau of excitement.
The Brooklyn Express Drumline revved up the crowd assembled on a narrow stretch at the southern tip of the island. And Marlon Marshall, the campaign’s director of political engagement, rattled off statistics about the number of volunteers who have signed up and house parties held in the early nominating states. A section with giant screens set up for an overflow crowd stood nearly empty.
But a crowd of supporters and volunteers from the staunchly Democratic New York area does not exactly represent the electorate writ large. The real test for Mrs. Clinton and how the speech was perceived will be in Iowa, where she was to travel on Saturday evening for several events. Iowa, the first nominating state, shunned her the last time she sought the presidency, in 2008.
“I was disappointed she didn’t challenge Obama four years ago,” said Dominique Pettinato, a 24-year-old parole officer who lives in Brooklyn.
For some members of the skeptical liberal wing of the Democratic Party still concerned that Mrs. Clinton will embrace her husband’s centrist approach, the speech went only so far in convincing them otherwise.
“This was mostly a typical Democratic speech — much better than the direction Republicans offer America,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal advocacy group. But he said the speech had not offered “the bold economic vision that most Americans want and need.”
Mrs. Clinton did not broach one issue that liberals are increasingly frustrated by: trade. On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist from Vermont who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, pointedly criticized Mrs. Clinton for not taking a position on a controversial trade bill Mr. Obama is pushing, as well as other contentious issues like the proposedKeystone XL oil pipeline and the renewal of the Patriot Act. “What is the secretary’s point of view on that?” Mr. Sanders asked of the act, which he voted against.
Mrs. Clinton had hardly stopped speaking Saturday when Bill Hyers, a senior strategist for Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, criticized her as vague on trade and other issues. Mr. O’Malley, he said, “has been fearless and specific in the progressive agenda we need.”
If there is one demographic Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is hoping to excite it is young women. It is an obvious connection that her 2008 campaign played down as it tried to present the former first lady as a strong commander in chief.
But on Saturday it was clear that Mrs. Clinton will make gender more central to her campaign this time. In her closing remarks, she called for a country “where a father can tell his daughter yes, you can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States.”
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Published on Jul 12, 2012
Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a “waste of time” and it should be pushed forward towards time-limited talks says Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Fisal
News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions
Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.
Shania Twain – Dance With The One That Brought You
Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency
By Greg Jaffe
Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.
The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.
The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.
The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.
Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.
The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.
“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”
The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.
“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”
Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.
The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.
Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.
In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.
His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.
Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.
The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.
The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.
“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”
A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.
In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.
It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.
“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”
U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday
By LAURENCE NORMAN
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.
But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.
The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.
Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.
The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.
Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.
“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.
U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.
The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.
Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.
President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.
An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.
“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.
The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.
Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.
After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.
The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.
As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.
Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.
U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.
Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.
Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.
At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.
While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.
A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.
“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.
—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.
Corrections & Amplifications
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.
Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:
Is Tuesday the big day or not?
It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.
What’s the objective here?
The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.
Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.
The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
So, what’s the deal with the deadline?
The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.
U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.
Is there a harder deadline?
The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.
What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?
There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.
Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.
Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?
It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.
What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?
Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.
Have they done any of that?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.
Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?
Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.
Have sanctions been eased already?
Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.
That’s a lot of money!
Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.
What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?
The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.
Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?
He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.
Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark., sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.
Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.
Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.
How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?
This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.
The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.
Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.
Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel
White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord
By GERALD F. SEIB
As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.
In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.
This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.
As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.
All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.
The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.
Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.
In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.
Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.
In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.
Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.
And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.
What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.
Story 1: Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John, Chapter 8
Catechism of The Catholic Church
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
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A Colorado Judge Orders Baker To Bake Cake for an Event ~ Illiberal Egalitarianism
‘gay wedding cake’ | Baker To Stop Making Wedding Cakes Altogether After Losing Discrimination Case
DISCRIMINATION – Oregon Bakery, ‘Sweet Cakes Bakery’ Refuses To Make Cake for Lesbian Wedding
Homophobic Bakery Goes Bankrupt
Joey Heatherton – “I’ve Got Your Number”
Joey Heatherton ‘Someone To Watch Over Me”
Joey Heatherton on the Dean Martin Show
Nice People | Bishop Fulton J.Sheen
Youth and Sex – Venerable Fulton Sheen
Marriage & Incompatibility – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
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His Last Words ~ Ven Fulton J Sheen
Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law
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Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law
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In Defense of Indiana
by RICH LOWRY
The anti-RFRA backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance.
Indiana is experiencing its two minutes of hate. It is doubtful that since its admittance into the union in 1816, the heretofore inoffensive Midwestern state has ever been showered with so much elite obloquy.
Indiana’s sin is that its legislature passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, setting out a legal standard for cases involving a clash between a person’s exercise of religion and the state’s laws. To listen to the critics, you’d think the law was drafted by a joint committee of attorneys from the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church. The enlightened are stumbling over themselves in their rush to boycott Indiana. Seattle and San Francisco are banning official travel there, and Connecticut is following suit. In a Washington Post op-ed, Apple CEO Tim Cook pronounced the Indiana law part of a “very dangerous” trend that allows “people to discriminate against their neighbors” (never mind that his company is happy to do business in Communist China). The anti-Indiana backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance, supercharged by the particularly censorious self-righteousness of the Left.
All the Indiana law says is that the state can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling governmental interest at stake and it is pursued by the least restrictive means. The law doesn’t mandate any particular outcome; it simply provides a test for the courts in those rare instances when a person’s exercise of religion clashes with a law.
Nineteen other states have similar protections, and they are all modeled on a federal version of the law that passed Congress with near unanimity in 1993 (Indiana’s law is arguably a little more robust than the federal version, because it also applies to private suits). If these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts were the enablers of discrimination they are portrayed as, much of the country would already have sunk into a dystopian pit of hatred.
Legal historians a century from now may be mystified by how a measure that was uncontroversial for so long suddenly became a mark of shame. They will find their answer in the Left’s drive to crush any dissent from its cultural agenda, especially on gay marriage.
The religious-freedom laws once were associated with minorities that progressives could embrace or tolerate — Native Americans who smoke peyote as part of religious ceremonies, Amish who drive their buggies on the roads, and the like. That was fine. It is the specter of Christian small-business people — say, a baker or a florist — using the laws to protect themselves from punishment for opting out of gay-wedding ceremonies that drives progressives mad.
Why? It’s a large, diverse country, with many people of differing faiths and different points of view. More specifically, the country has an enormous wedding industry not known for its hostility to gays. The burgeoning institution of gay marriage will surely survive the occasional florist who doesn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.
As a practical matter, such a dissenting florist doesn’t make a difference; the affected couple might be offended but can take its business elsewhere. But for the Left, it’s the principle of the thing. For all its talk of diversity, it demands unanimity on this question — individual conscience be damned. So it isn’t bothered when religious wedding vendors are sued or harassed under anti-discrimination laws for their nonparticipation in ceremonies they morally oppose.
It’s not clear that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts will shield these kinds of business people (they haven’t, to this point). It might be that more specific exemptions are necessary. But the mere possibility that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act might protect a baker opposed to gay marriage is enough to create a furious, unhinged reaction.
Yes, there is intolerance afoot in the debate over Indiana, but it’s not on the part of Indianans.
He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told.
“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.
“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.
But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.
ISCA, which has come under fire from regime hardliners critical of Mr Rouhani, issued a statement denying that Mr Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it.
“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, it said.
However, critics said Mr Mottaghi was “prey of the exiled counter-revolutionaries” and had gone to Lausanne with the sole purpose of seeking refugee status in Switzerland.
In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.
“The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to continue fighting against vital threats to the national security of his country.
He added: “We will never close our eyes and we will continue to operate against every threat in every generation, and of course in this generation.”
Netanyahu predicted that many countries in the region would be immediately affected by a bad deal.
“Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement,” he said.
On Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister expressed concern with the Iranian regime’s growing sphere of influence and control.
“After the Beirut-Damascus- Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu suggested in the meeting that the impending nuclear deal likely “paves Iran’s way to the [nuclear] bomb.”
The foreign ministers of Iran and the entire P5+1 world powers met in Switzerland on Monday in hopes to secure a basic framework for a nuclear deal by Tuesday’s March 31 deadline. This marked the first time that all of the negotiating foreign minister’s gathered together at the same event.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media, “I think it is possible to reach a deal by [Tuesday] night. The gaps are narrowing. I am always optimistic.”
“Our deadline is tomorrow night so obviously we are working very hard,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.
The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon — and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video
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Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon ( Theme from the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me)
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When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding
No more false hoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberations
When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine
Ally’s snooping upset White House because information was used to lobby Congress to try to sink a deal
March 23, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET
Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.
The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.
Soon after the U.S. entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. Photo: Getty
The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.
The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.
The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.
Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: GettyPHOTO: REUTERS
Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer early this year saw a rapidly closing window to increase pressure on Mr. Obama before a key deadline at the end of March, Israeli officials said.
Using levers of political influence unique to Israel, Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer calculated that a lobbying campaign in Congress before an announcement was made would improve the chances of killing or reshaping any deal. They knew the intervention would damage relations with the White House, Israeli officials said, but decided that was an acceptable cost.
The campaign may not have worked as well as hoped, Israeli officials now say, because it ended up alienating many congressional Democrats whose support Israel was counting on to block a deal.
Obama administration officials, departing from their usual description of the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, have voiced sharp criticism of Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer to describe how the relationship has changed.
“People feel personally sold out,” a senior administration official said. “That’s where the Israelis really better be careful because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possibly the next one as well.”
This account of the Israeli campaign is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. and Israeli diplomats, intelligence officials, policy makers and lawmakers.
Distrust between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama had been growing for years but worsened when Mr. Obama launched secret talks with Iran in 2012. The president didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu because of concerns about leaks, helping set the stage for the current standoff, according to current and former U.S. and Israeli officials.
U.S. officials said Israel has long topped the list of countries that aggressively spy on the U.S., along with China, Russia and France. The U.S. expends more counterintelligence resources fending off Israeli spy operations than any other close ally, U.S. officials said.
A senior official in the prime minister’s office said Monday: “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”
Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies scaled back their targeting of U.S. officials after the jailing nearly 30 years ago of American Jonathan Pollard for passing secrets to Israel.
While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.
Americans shouldn’t be surprised, said a person familiar with the Israeli practice, since U.S. intelligence agencies helped the Israelis build a system to listen in on high-level Iranian communications.
As secret talks with Iran progressed into 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored Israel’s communications to see if the country knew of the negotiations. Mr. Obama didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu until September 2013.
Israeli officials, who said they had already learned about the talks through their own channels, told their U.S. counterparts they were upset about being excluded. “ ‘Did the administration really believe we wouldn’t find out?’ ” Israeli officials said, according to a former U.S. official.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal.PHOTO: CNP/ZUMA PRESS
The episode cemented Mr. Netanyahu’s concern that Mr. Obama was bent on clinching a deal with Iran whether or not it served Israel’s best interests, Israeli officials said. Obama administration officials said the president was committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Mr. Dermer started lobbying U.S. lawmakers just before the U.S. and other powers signed an interim agreement with Iran in November 2013. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Dermer went to Congress after seeing they had little influence on the White House.
Before the interim deal was made public, Mr. Dermer gave lawmakers Israel’s analysis: The U.S. offer would dramatically undermine economic sanctions on Iran, according to congressional officials who took part.
After learning about the briefings, the White House dispatched senior officials to counter Mr. Dermer. The officials told lawmakers that Israel’s analysis exaggerated the sanctions relief by as much as 10 times, meeting participants said.
When the next round of negotiations with Iran started in Switzerland last year, U.S. counterintelligence agents told members of the U.S. negotiating team that Israel would likely try to penetrate their communications, a senior Obama administration official said.
The U.S. routinely shares information with its European counterparts and others to coordinate negotiating positions. While U.S. intelligence officials believe secured U.S. communications are relatively safe from the Israelis, they say European communications are vulnerable.
Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential updates on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political AffairsWendy Sherman and other U.S. officials, who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill in any gaps.
The White House eventually curtailed the briefings, U.S. officials said, withholding sensitive information for fear of leaks.
Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies can get much of the information they seek by targeting Iranians and others in the region who are communicating with countries in the talks.
In November, the Israelis learned the contents of a proposed deal offered by the U.S. but ultimately rejected by Iran, U.S. and Israeli officials said. Israeli officials told their U.S. counterparts the terms offered insufficient protections.
U.S. officials urged the Israelis to give the negotiations a chance. But Mr. Netanyahu’s top advisers concluded the emerging deal was unacceptable. The White House was making too many concessions, Israeli officials said, while the Iranians were holding firm.
Obama administration officials reject that view, saying Israel was making impossible demands that Iran would never accept. “The president has made clear time and again that no deal is better than a bad deal,” a senior administration official said.
In January, Mr. Netanyahu told the White House his government intended to oppose the Iran deal but didn’t explain how, U.S. and Israeli officials said.
On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced Mr. Netanyahu would address a joint meeting of Congress. That same day, Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials visited Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers and aides, seeking a bipartisan coalition large enough to block or amend any deal.
Most Republicans were already prepared to challenge the White House on the negotiations, so Mr. Dermer focused on Democrats. “This deal is bad,” he said in one briefing, according to participants.
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, Aaron Sagui,said Mr. Dermer didn’t launch a special campaign on Jan 21. Mr. Dermer, the spokesperson said, has “consistently briefed both Republican and Democrats, senators and congressmen, on Israel’s concerns regarding the Iran negotiations for over a year.”
Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret, including how the emerging deal could allow Iran to operate around 6,500 centrifuges, devices used to process nuclear material, said congressional officials who attended the briefings.
The Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.
The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.
When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.
“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”
Current and former U.S. officials confirmed that the number and type of centrifuges cited in the briefings were part of the discussions. But they said the briefings were misleading because Israeli officials didn’t disclose concessions asked of Iran. Those included giving up stockpiles of nuclear material, as well as modifying the advanced centrifuges to slow output, these officials said.
The administration didn’t brief lawmakers on the centrifuge numbers and other details at the time because the information was classified and the details were still in flux, current and former U.S. officials said.
The congressional briefings and Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint meeting of Congress on the emerging deal sparked a backlash among many Democratic lawmakers, congressional aides said.
On Feb. 3, Mr. Dermer huddled with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who said he told Mr. Dermer it was a breach of protocol for Mr. Netanyahu to accept an invitation from Mr. Boehner without going through the White House.
Mr. Manchin said he told Mr. Dermer he would attend the prime minister’s speech to Congress, but he was noncommittal about supporting any move by Congress to block a deal.
Mr. Dermer spent the following day doing damage control with Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, congressional aides said.
Two days later, Mr. Dermer met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the SenateIntelligence Committee, at her Washington, D.C., home. He pressed for her support because he knew that she, too, was angry about Mr. Netanyahu’s planned appearance.
Ms. Feinstein said afterward she would oppose legislation allowing Congress to vote down an agreement.
Congressional aides and Israeli officials now say Israel’s coalition in Congress is short the votes needed to pass legislation that could overcome a presidential veto, although that could change. In response, Israeli officials said, Mr. Netanyahu was pursuing other ways to pressure the White House.
This week, Mr. Netanyahu sent a delegation to France, which has been more closely aligned with Israel on the nuclear talks and which could throw obstacles in Mr. Obama’s way before a deal is signed. The Obama administration, meanwhile, is stepping up its outreach to Paris to blunt the Israeli push.
“If you’re wondering whether something serious has shifted here, the answer is yes,” a senior U.S. official said. “These things leave scars.”
A neutron bomb, officially known as one type of Enhanced Radiation Weapon, is a low yield fission-fusion thermonuclear weapon (hydrogen bomb) in which the burst of neutrons generated by a fusionreaction is intentionally allowed to escape the weapon, rather than being absorbed by its other components. The weapon’s radiation case, usually made from relatively thick uranium, lead or steel in a standard bomb, is, instead, made of as thin a material as possible, to facilitate the greatest escape of fusion produced neutrons. The “usual” nuclear weapon yield—expressed as kilotons of TNT equivalent—is not a measure of a neutron weapon’s destructive power. It refers only to the energy released (mostly heat and blast), and does not express the lethal effect of neutron radiation on living organisms.
Compared to a pure fission bomb with an identical explosive yield, a neutron bomb would emit about ten times the amount of neutron radiation. In a fission bomb, at sea level, the total radiation pulse energy which is composed of both gamma rays and neutrons is approximately 5% of the entire energy released; in the neutron bomb it would be closer to 40%. Furthermore, the neutrons emitted by a neutron bomb have a much higher average energy level (close to 14 MeV) than those released during a fission reaction (1–2 MeV). Technically speaking, all low yield nuclear weapons are radiation weapons, that is including the non-enhanced variant. Up to about 10 kilotons in yield, all nuclear weapons have prompt neutron radiation as their most far reaching lethal component, after which point the lethal blast and thermal effects radius begins to out-range the lethal ionizing radiation radius. Enhanced radiation weapons also fall into this same yield range and simply enhance the intensity and range of the neutron dose for a given yield.
History & deployment to present
Conception of the neutron bomb is generally credited to Samuel T. Cohen of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who developed the concept in 1958.Testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility. Development was subsequently postponed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 following protests against his administration’s plans to deploy neutron warheads to ground forces in Europe. On November 17, 1978, in a test the USSRdetonated its first similar-type bomb. President Ronald Reagan restarted production in 1981. The Soviet Union began a propaganda campaign against the US’s neutron bomb in 1981 following Reagan’s announcement. In 1983 Reagan then announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, which surpassed neutron bomb production in ambition and vision and with that the neutron bomb quickly faded from the center of the public’s attention.
Three types of enhanced radiation weapons (ERW) were built by the United States. The W66 warhead, for the anti-ICBM Sprint missile system, was deployed in 1975 and retired the next year, along with the missile system. The W70 Mod 3 warhead was developed for the short-range, tactical Lance missile, and the W79 Mod 0 was developed for artillery shells. The latter two types were retired by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, following the end of the Cold War. The last W70 Mod 3 warhead was dismantled in 1996, and the last W79 Mod 0 was dismantled by 2003, when the dismantling of all W79 variants was completed.
In addition to the two superpowers, France and China are known to have tested neutron or enhanced radiation bombs. France conducted an early test of the technology in 1967 and tested an “actual” neutron bomb in 1980. China conducted a successful test of neutron bomb principles in 1984 and a successful test of a neutron bomb in 1988. However, neither country chose to deploy the neutron bomb. Chinese nuclear scientists stated prior to the 1988 test that China had no need for the neutron bomb, but it was developed to serve as a “technology reserve,” in case the need arose in the future.
Although no country is currently known to deploy them in an offensive manner, all thermonuclear dial-a-yield warheads that have about 10 kiloton and lower as one dial option, with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, can be considered capable of being neutron bombs in actuality if not in name. The only country definitively known to deploy dedicated (that is, not Dial-a-yield) neutron warheads for any length of time is Russia, which inherited the USSRsneutron warhead equipped ABM-3 Gazelle missile program, this Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system contains at least 68 neutron warheads of yield 10 kiloton and it has been in service since 1995, with inert missile testing approximately every other year since then (2014). The system is designed to destroy incoming “endo-atmospheric” level nuclear warheads aimed at Moscow etc. and is the lower-tier/ last umbrella of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system (NATO reporting name: ABM-3).
Considerable controversy arose in the U.S. and Western Europe following a June 1977 Washington Post exposé describing U.S. government plans to purchase the bomb. The article focused on the fact that it was the first weapon specifically intended to kill humans with radiation.Lawrence Livermore National Laboratorydirector Harold Brown and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev both described the neutron bomb as a “capitalist bomb”, because it was designed to destroy people while preserving property. Science fiction author Isaac Asimov also stated that “Such a neutron bomb or N bomb seems desirable to those who worry about property and hold life cheap.”
Use of neutron bomb
Neutron bombs are purposely designed with explosive yields lower than other nuclear weapons. Since neutrons are absorbed by air, neutron radiation effects drop off very rapidly with distance in air, there is a sharper distinction, as opposed to thermal effects, between areas of high lethality and areas with minimal radiation doses. All high yield (more than ~10 kiloton) “neutron bombs”, such as the extreme example of a device that derived 97% of its energy from fusion, the 50 megatonTsar Bomba, are not able to radiate sufficient neutrons beyond their lethal blast range when detonated as a surface burst or low altitude air burst and so are no longer classified as neutron bombs, thus limiting the yield of neutron bombs to a maximum of about 10 kilotons. The intense pulse of high-energy neutrons generated by a neutron bomb are the principal killing mechanism, not the fallout, heat or blast.
The inventor of the neutron bomb, Samuel Cohen, criticized the description of the W70 as a “neutron bomb” since it could be configured to yield 100 kilotons:
the W-70 … is not even remotely a “neutron bomb.” Instead of being the type of weapon that, in the popular mind, “kills people and spares buildings” it is one that both kills and physically destroys on a massive scale. The W-70 is not a discriminate weapon, like the neutron bomb—which, incidentally, should be considered a weapon that “kills enemy personnel while sparing the physical fabric of the attacked populace, and even the populace too.”
The Soviet/Warsaw pact invasion plan, “Seven Days to the River Rhine” to seize West Germany. Under such a scenario, neutron bombs, according to their inventor, would hopefully blunt the Warsaw pact tank, and more thinly armored BMP-1 thrusts, without causing as much damage to the people and infrastructure of Germany as alternative higher fission fraction & higher explosive yield tactical nuclear weapons would. They would likely be used if the mass conventional weapon NATO REFORGER response to the invasion had yet to find time to be organized or found ineffective in battle.
Although neutron bombs are commonly believed to “leave the infrastructure intact”, with current designs that have explosive yields in the low kiloton range, the detonation of which, in a built up area, would still cause considerable, although not total, destruction through blast and heat effects out to a considerable radius.
Wood frame house in 1953 nuclear test, 5 psi overpressure, complete collapse
Upon detonation, a 1 kiloton neutron bomb near the ground, in an airburst would produce a large blast wave, and a powerful pulse of both thermal radiation and ionizing radiation, mostly in the form of fast (14.1 MeV) neutrons. The thermal pulse would cause third degree burns to unprotected skin out to approximately 500 meters. The blast would create at least 4.6 PSIout to a radius of 600 meters, which would severely damage all non-reinforced concrete structures, at the conventional effective combat range against modern main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers (<690–900 m) the blast from a 1 kt neutron bomb will destroy or damage to the point of non-usability almost all un-reinforced civilian building. Thus the use of neutron bombs to stop an enemy armored attack by rapidly incapacitating the crew with a dose of 8000+ Rads of radiation, which would require exploding large numbers of them to blanket the enemy forces, would also destroy all normal civilian buildings in the same immediate area ~600 meters, and via neutron activation it would make many building materials in the city radioactive, such as Zinc coated steel/galvanized steel(see Area denial use below). Although at this ~600 meter distance the 4-5 PSI blast overpressure would cause very few direct casualties as the human body is resistant to sheer overpressure, the powerful winds produced by this overpressure are capable of throwing human bodies into objects or throwing objects-including window glass at high velocity, both with potentially lethal results, rendering casualties highly dependent on surroundings, including on if the building they are in collapses. The pulse of neutron radiation would cause immediate and permanent incapacitation to unprotected outdoor humans in the open out to 900 meters, with death occurring in one or two days. The lethal dose(LD50) of 600 Rads would extend to about 1350–1400 meters for those unprotected and outdoors, where approximately half of those exposed would die of radiation sickness after several weeks.
However a human residing within, or is simply shielded by at least 1 of the aforementioned concrete buildings with walls and ceilings 30 centimeters/12 inches thick, or alternatively of damp soil 24 inches thick, the neutron radiation exposure would be reduced by a factor of 10.
Furthermore the neutron absorption spectra of air is disputed by some authorities and depends in part on absorption byhydrogen from water vapor. It therefore might vary exponentially with humidity, making neutron bombs immensely more deadly in desert climates than in humid ones.
Questionable effectiveness in modern anti-tank role
The Neutron cross section/ absorption probability in barns of the two natural Boron isotopes found in nature (top curve is for 10B and bottom curve for 11B. As neutron energy increases to 14 MeV, the absorption effectiveness, in general, decreases. Therefore for boron containing armor to be effective, fast neutrons must first be slowed by another element by neutron scattering.
The questionable effectiveness of ER weapons against modern tanks is cited as one of the main reasons that these weapons are no longer fielded or stockpiled. With the increase in average tank armor thickness since the first ER weapons were fielded, tank armor protection approaches the level where tank crews are now almost completely protected from radiation effects. Therefore for an ER weapon to incapacitate a modern tank crew through irradiation, the weapon must now be detonated at such a close proximity to the tank that the nuclear explosion‘s blast would now be equally effective at incapacitating it and its crew. However this assertion was regarded as dubious in a reply in 1986  by a member of theRoyal Military College of Science as neutron radiation from a 1 kiloton neutron bomb would incapacitate the crew of a tank with a Protection Factor of 35 out to a range of 280 meters, but the incapacitating blast range, depending on the exact weight of the tank, is much less, from 70 to 130 meters. However although the author did note that effective neutron absorbers and neutron poisons such as Boron carbide can be incorporated into conventional armor and strap on neutron moderating hydrogenous material (hydrogen atom containing substances), such as Explosive Reactive Armor can both increase the protection factor, the author holds that in practice combined with neutron scattering, the actual average total tank area protection factor is rarely higher than 15.5 to 35. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the neutron protection factor of a “tank” can be as low as 2, without qualifying the tank statement is for a light tank(tankette) ormedium tank/main battle tank.
A composite high density concrete, or alternatively, a laminated Graded Z shield, 24 units thick of which 16 units are iron and 8 units are polyethylene containing boron (BPE) and additional mass behind it to attenuate neutron capture gamma rays is more effective than just 24 units of pure iron or BPE alone, due to the advantages of both iron and BPE in combination. Iron is effective in slowing down/scatteringhigh-energy neutrons in the 14-MeV energy range and attenuating gamma rays, while the hydrogen in polyethylene is effective in slowing down these now slowerfast neutrons in the few MeV range, and boron 10 has a high absorption cross section for thermal neutrons and a low production yield of gamma rays when it absorbs a neutron. The Soviet T72 tank, in response to the neutron bomb threat, is cited as having fitted a boronated, polyethylene liner, which has had its neutron shielding properties simulated.
However as some tank armor material contains depleted uranium(DU), common in the US’s M1A1 Abrams tank, which “incorporates steel-encased depleted uranium armour”, a substance that will fast fission when it captures a fast, fusion generated neutron, and therefore upon fissioning it will producefission neutrons and fission products embedded within the armor, products which emit amongst other things, penetrating gamma rays. Although the neutrons emitted by the neutron bomb may not penetrate to the tank crew in lethal quantities, the fast fission of DU within the armor could still ensure a lethal environment for the crew and maintenance personnel by fission neutron and gamma ray exposure,largely depending on the exact thickness and elemental composition of the armor – information usually hard to attain. Despite this, DUCRETE – which has an elemental composition similar to, but not identical to the ceramic 2nd generation heavy metal Chobham armor of the Abrams tank- DUCRETE is an effective radiation shield, to both fission neutrons and gamma rays due to it being a graded Z material. Uranium being about twice as dense as lead is thus nearly twice as effective at shielding gamma ray radiation per unit thickness.
Use against ballistic missiles
As an anti-ballistic missile weapon, the first fielded ER warhead, the W66, was developed for the Sprintmissile system as part of the Safeguard Program to protect United States cities and missile silos from incoming Soviet warheads by damaging their electronic components with the intense neutron flux.Ionization greater than 5,000 rads in silicon chips delivered over seconds to minutes will degrade the function of semiconductors for long periods. Due to the rarefied atmosphere encountered high above the earth at the most likely intercept point of an incoming warhead by a neutron bomb/warhead, whether it be the retired Sprint missile’s W66 neutron warhead or the still in service Russian counterpart, the ABM-3 Gazelle, at the Terminal phase point(10–30 km) of the incoming warheads flight, the neutrons generated by a Mid to High-altitude nuclear explosion(HANE) have an even greater range than that encountered after a low altitude air burst, where there is a lower density of air molecules that produces, by comparison, an appreciable reduction in the air shielding effect/half-value thickness.
However, although this neutron transparency advantage attained only increases at increased altitudes, neutron effects lose importance in the exoatmosphericenvironment, being overtaken by the range of another effect of a nuclear detonation, at approximately the same altitude as the end of the incoming missile’s boost phase(~150 km), ablation producing soft x-rays are the chief nuclear effects threat to the survival of incoming missiles and warheads rather than neutrons. A factor exploited by the other warhead of the Safeguard Program, the enhanced (X-ray) radiation W71 and its USSR/Russian counterpart, the warhead on the A-135 Gorgon missile.
Another method by which neutron radiation can be used to destroy incoming nuclear warheads is by serving as an intense neutron generator and to thus initiate fission in the incoming warheads fissionable components by fast fission, potentially causing the incoming warhead to prematurely detonate in a Fizzle if within sufficient proximity, but in most likely interception ranges, requiring only that enough fissionable material in the warhead fissions to interfere with the functioning of the incoming warhead when it is later fuzed to explode(see related physics:Subcritical reactor).
Lithium-6 Hydride(“Li6H”) is cited as being used as a countermeasure to reduce the vulnerability/”harden” nuclear warheads from the effects of externally generated neutrons.Radiation hardening of the warheads electronic components as a countermeasure to high altitude neutron warheads, somewhat reduces the range that a neutron warhead could successfully cause an unrecoverable glitch by the TREE(Transient Radiation effects on Electronics) mechanism.
Use as an area denial weapon
In November 2012, during the planning stages of Operation Hammer of God, it was suggested by a British parliamentarian that multiple enhanced radiation reduced blast (ERRB) warheads could be detonated in the mountain region of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border to prevent infiltration. He proposed to warn the inhabitants to evacuate, then irradiate the area, making it unusable and impassable. Used in this manner, the neutron bomb(s), regardless of burst height, would releaseneutron activated casing materials used in the bomb, and depending on burst height, create radioactive soil activation products.
In much the same fashion as the area denial effect resulting from fission product (the substances that make up the majority of fallout) contamination in an area following a conventional surface burst nuclear explosion, as considered in the Korean War by Douglas MacArthur, it would thus be a form of Radiological warfare. With the difference with that of neutron bombs producing 1/2, or less, of the quantity of fission products when compared to the same yield pure fission bomb. Radiological warfare with neutron bombs that rely on fission primaries would therefore still produce fission fallout, albeit a comparatively “cleaner” and shorter lasting version of it in the area if air bursts were utilized, as little to no fission products would be deposited on the direct immediate area, instead becoming diluted global fallout.
However the most effective use of a neutron bomb with respect to area denial would be to encase it in a thick shell of material that could be neutron activated, and use a surface burst. In this manner the neutron bomb would be turned into a “salted bomb“, a case of Zinc-64, produced as a byproduct of depleted zinc oxideenrichment, would for example probably be the most attractive from a military point of view, as when activated the Zinc-65 that is created is a gamma emitter, with a half life of 244 days.
Neutron bombs/warheads require considerable maintenance for their capabilities, requiring some tritium for fusion boosting and tritium in the secondary stage (yielding more neutrons), in amounts on the order of a few tens of grams (10–30 grams estimated). Because tritium has a relatively short half-life of 12.32 years (after that time, half the tritium has decayed), it is necessary to replenish it periodically in order to keep the bomb effective. (For instance: to maintain a constant level of 24 grams of tritium in a warhead, about 1 gram per bomb per year must be supplied.) Moreover, tritium decays into helium-3, which absorbs neutrons and will thus further reduce the bomb’s neutron yield.
Story 1: Fed Desperate To Rise Above the Near Zero Fed Funds Rate Target Range — Need Three Months Of 300,000 Plus Per Month Job Creation, Wage Growth and 3% First Quarter 2015 Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Numbers To Jump to .5 – 1.0% Range Fed Funds Rate Target — June 2015 Launch Date Expected — Fly Me To The Moon — Summertime — Launch — Abort On Recession — Videos
Amazing seven year old sings Fly Me To The Moon (Angelina Jordan) on Senkveld “The Late Show”
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Fed Decision: The Three Most Important Things Janet Yellen Said
Press Conference with Chair of the FOMC, Janet L. Yellen
Monetary Policy Based on the Taylor Rule
Many economists believe that rules-based monetary policy provides better economic outcomes than a purely discretionary framework delivers. But there is disagreement about the advantages of rules-based policy and even disagreement about which rule works. One possible policy rule would be for the central bank to follow a Taylor Rule, named after our featured speaker, John B. Taylor. What would some of the advantages of a Taylor Rule be versus, for instance, a money growth rule, or a rule which only specifies the inflation target? How could a policy rule be implemented? Should policy rule legislation be considered? Join us as Professor Taylor addresses these important policy questions.
Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman pre1971
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Friedrich Hayek explains to Leo Rosten that while brilliant Keynes had a parochial understanding of economics.
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Peter Schiff Interviews Keynesian Economist Laurence Kotlikoff 01-18-12
Larry Kotlikoff on the Clash of Generations
Extended interview with Boston University Economics Professor Larry Kotlikoff on his publications about a six-decade long Ponzi scheme in the US which he says will lead to a clash of generations.
Kotlikoff also touches on what his projections mean for the New Zealand economy and why Prime Minister John Key should take more attention of New Zealand’s ‘fiscal gap’ – the gap between all future government spending commitments and its future revenue track.
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Angelina Jordan – summertime
Angelina Jordan synger Sinatra i semifinalen i Norske Talenter 2014
Release Date: March 18, 2015
For immediate release
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat. Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate. A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish. Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power. Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened. Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of energy price declines and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.
The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.
When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Jerome H. Powell; Daniel K. Tarullo; and John C. Williams.
Note: Projections of change in real gross domestic product (GDP) and projections for both measures of inflation are percent changes from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated. PCE inflation and core PCE inflation are the percentage rates of change in, respectively, the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and the price index for PCE excluding food and energy. Projections for the unemployment rate are for the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year indicated. Each participant’s projections are based on his or her assessment of appropriate monetary policy. Longer-run projections represent each participant’s assessment of the rate to which each variable would be expected to converge under appropriate monetary policy and in the absence of further shocks to the economy. The December projections were made in conjunction with the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on December 16-17, 2014.
1. The central tendency excludes the three highest and three lowest projections for each variable in each year. Return to table
2. The range for a variable in a given year includes all participants’ projections, from lowest to highest, for that variable in that year. Return to table
3. Longer-run projections for core PCE inflation are not collected. Return to table
Figure 1. Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections, 2015-17 and over the longer run
Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections for years 2015 through 2017 and over the longer run. Actual values for years 2010 through 2014.
Change in real GDP Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
Unemployment rate Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
PCE inflation Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
Note: Definitions of variables are in the general note to the projections table. The data for the actual values of the variables are annual.
Figure 2. Overview of FOMC participants’ assessments of appropriate monetary policy
Appropriate timing of policy firming
Number of participants
Note: In the upper panel, the height of each bar denotes the number of FOMC participants who judge that, under appropriate monetary policy, the first increase in the target range for the federal funds rate from its current range of 0 to 1/4 percent will occur in the specified calendar year. In December 2014, the numbers of FOMC participants who judged that the first increase in the target federal funds rate would occur in 2015, and 2016 were, respectively, 15, and 2.
Appropriate pace of policy firming: Midpoint of target range or target level for the federal funds rate Number of participants with projected midpoint of target range or target level
Midpoint of target range
or target level (Percent)
Note: In the lower panel, each shaded circle indicates the value (rounded to the nearest 1/8 percentage point) of an individual participant’s judgment of the midpoint of the appropriate target range for the federal funds rate or the appropriate target level for the federal funds rate at the end of the specified calendar year or over the longer run.
Janet Yellen Isn’t Going to Raise Interest Rates Until She’s Good and Ready
The key words in Janet L. Yellen’s news conference Wednesday were rather pithy, at least by central bank standards. “Just because we removed the word ‘patient’ from the statement doesn’t mean we are going to be impatient,” Ms. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, said.
With this framing, Ms. Yellen was putting her firm stamp on the policy of an institution she has led for just over a year — and making clear that she will not be boxed in. Her words and accompanying announcements conveyed the message that the Yellen Fed has no intention of taking the support struts of low interest rates away until she is absolutely confident that economic growth will hold up without them.
Ms. Yellen’s comments about patience versus impatience were part of that dance. But the dual message was even more powerful when combined with other elements of the central bank’s newly released information, which sent the signal that members of the committee intend to move cautiously on rate increases.
By eliminating the reference to “patience,” Paul Edelstein, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a research note, “The Fed did what it was expected to do.”
“But beyond that,” he added, “the committee appeared much more dovish and in not much of a hurry to actually pull the trigger.”
Fed officials’ forecasts of how high rates will be at year’s end for 2015, 2016 and 2017 all fell compared to where they were in December. They marked down their forecast for economic growth and inflation for all three years, implying that the nation’s economic challenge is tougher and inflation risks more distant than they had seemed a few months ago.
Particularly interesting was that Fed officials lowered their estimate of the longer-run unemployment rate, to 5 to 5.2 percent, from 5.2 to 5.5 percent. With joblessness hitting 5.5 percent in February, that implied that policy makers are convinced the job market has more room to tighten before it becomes too tight. Fed leaders now forecast unemployment rates in 2016 and 2017 that are a bit below what many view as the long-term sustainable level, which one would expect to translate into rising wages.
In other words, they want to run the economy a little hot for the next couple of years to help spur the kinds of wage gains that might return inflation to the 2 percent level they aim for, but which they have persistently undershot in recent years.
Apart from the details of the dovish monetary policy signals Ms. Yellen and her colleagues sent, it is clear she wanted to jolt markets out of any feeling that policy is on a preordained path.
At times over the last couple of years, the Fed had seemed to set a policy course and then go on a forced march until it got there, regardless of whether the jobs numbers were good or bad, or whether inflation was rising or falling. That is certainly how it felt when the Fed decided in December 2013 to wind down its quantitative easing policies by $10 billion per meeting, which it did through the first nine months of 2014 with few signs of re-evaluation as conditions evolved.
In her first news conference as chairwoman a year ago, Ms. Yellen had suggested that rate increases might be on a similar preordained path by saying that she could imagine rate increases “around six months” after the conclusion of quantitative easing. (That comment increasingly looks to have been a rookie mistake, and she later backed away from it.)
There are likely to be plenty of twists and turns in the coming months. After this week’s meeting, Ms. Yellen reinforced the message she has been trying to convey that the committee really will adapt its policy to incoming information rather than simply carry on with the path it set a year ago.
If the strengthening dollar and falling oil prices start to translate into still-lower expectations for future inflation, the Fed will hold off from rate rises — and the same if wage gains and other job market indicators show a lack of progress.
Conversely, if the job market recovery keeps going gangbusters and it becomes clear that inflation is going to rise back toward 2 percent, Ms. Yellen does not want to be constrained by language about “patience.”
“This change does not necessarily mean that an increase will occur in June,” Ms. Yellen said, “though we cannot rule that out.”
She has now bought herself some latitude to decide when and how the Fed ushers in an era of tighter money. Now the question is just how patient or impatient American economic conditions will allow her to be.
In economics, a Taylor rule is a monetary-policy rule that stipulates how much the central bank should change the nominal interest rate in response to changes in inflation, output, or other economic conditions. In particular, the rule stipulates that for each one-percent increase in inflation, the central bank should raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point. This aspect of the rule is often called the Taylor principle.
The rule of was first proposed by John B. Taylor, and simultaneously by Dale W. Henderson and Warwick McKibbin in 1993. It is intended to foster price stability and full employment by systematically reducing uncertainty and increasing the credibility of future actions by the central bank. It may also avoid the inefficiencies of time inconsistency from the exercise ofdiscretionary policy. The Taylor rule synthesized, and provided a compromise between, competing schools of economics thought in a language devoid of rhetorical passion. Although many issues remain unresolved and views still differ about how the Taylor rule can best be applied in practice, research shows that the rule has advanced the practice of central banking.
As an equation
According to Taylor’s original version of the rule, the nominal interest rate should respond to divergences of actual inflation rates from target inflation rates and of actual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from potential GDP:
In this equation, both and should be positive (as a rough rule of thumb, Taylor’s 1993 paper proposed setting ). That is, the rule “recommends” a relatively high interest rate (a “tight” monetary policy) when inflation is above its target or when output is above its full-employment level, in order to reduce inflationary pressure. It recommends a relatively low interest rate (“easy” monetary policy) in the opposite situation, to stimulate output. Sometimes monetary policy goals may conflict, as in the case of stagflation, when inflation is above its target while output is below full employment. In such a situation, a Taylor rule specifies the relative weights given to reducing inflation versus increasing output.
The Taylor principle
By specifying , the Taylor rule says that an increase in inflation by one percentage point should prompt the central bank to raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point (specifically, by , the sum of the two coefficients on in the equation above). Since the real interest rate is (approximately) the nominal interest rate minus inflation, stipulating implies that when inflation rises, the real interest rate should be increased. The idea that the real interest rate should be raised to cool the economy when inflation increases (requiring the nominal interest rate to increase more than inflation does) has sometimes been called the Taylor principle.
During an EconTalk podcast Taylor explained the rule in simple terms using three variables: inflation rate, GDP growth, and the interest rate. If inflation were to rise by 1%, the proper response would be to raise the interest rate by 1.5% (Taylor explains that it doesn’t always need to be exactly 1.5%, but being larger than 1% is essential). If GDP falls by 1% relative to its growth path, then the proper response is to cut the interest rate by .5%.
Alternative versions of the rule
While the Taylor principle has proved very influential, there is more debate about the other terms that should enter into the rule. According to some simple New Keynesian macroeconomic models, insofar as the central bank keeps inflation stable, the degree of fluctuation in output will be optimized (Blanchard and Gali call this property the ‘divine coincidence‘). In this case, the central bank need not take fluctuations in the output gap into account when setting interest rates (that is, it may optimally set .) On the other hand, other economists have proposed including additional terms in the Taylor rule to take into account money gap or financial conditions: for example, the interest rate might be raised when stock prices, housing prices, or interest rate spreads increase.
Although the Federal Reserve does not explicitly follow the Taylor rule, many analysts have argued that the rule provides a fairly accurate summary of US monetary policy under Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan. Similar observations have been made about central banks in other developed economies, both in countries like Canada and New Zealand that have officially adopted inflation targeting rules, and in others like Germany where the Bundesbank‘s policy did not officially target the inflation rate. This observation has been cited by Clarida, Galí, and Gertler as a reason why inflation had remained under control and the economy had been relatively stable (the so-called ‘Great Moderation‘) in most developed countries from the 1980s through the 2000s. However, according to Taylor, the rule was not followed in part of the 2000s, possibly leading to the housing bubble. Certain research has determined that some households form their expectations about the future path of interest rates, inflation, and unemployment in a way that is consistent with Taylor-type rules.
Athanasios Orphanides (2003) claims that the Taylor rule can misguide policy makers since they face real-time data. He shows that the Taylor rule matches the US funds rate less perfectly when accounting for these informational limitations and that an activist policy following the Taylor rule would have resulted in an inferior macroeconomic performance during the Great Inflation of the seventies.
Jump up^Henderson, D. W.; McKibbin, W. (1993). “A Comparison of Some Basic Monetary Policy Regimes for Open Economies: Implications of Different Degrees of Instrument Adjustment and Wage Persistence”. Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy39: 221–318. doi:10.1016/0167-2231(93)90011-K.
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